Monday, December 29, 2008

Deja-vu northern Uganda

As many feared and some predicted, the Dec. 14 attack on the camps of the Lord's Resistance Army in northeastern DRC has provoked a bloody response.

So far, according to UN sources, at least 200 people have been killed by the scattered forces of the LRA, led by their self-proclaimed prophet Joseph Kony. At least 120 homes have been burned.

One of the most gruesome of these latest attacks was in a church near the town of Doruma (pictured above) close to the border with South Sudan. There LRA rebels hacked to death 45 people who were hiding in a church.

This attack on innocent civilians rivals some of the gore that the LRA indulged in across northern Uganda for two decades.

I visited Doruma this past June to interview people there about an earlier attack by Kony's killers on Easter weekend of this year.

Maybe this is how Joseph Kony likes to spend religious holidays: killing hundreds of innocent people.

The attack against Kony was of course long overdue. He has been killing and abducting people in this remote area of the DRC for more than two years now.

And, he has been lavishly aided and abetted by the soft-minded members of European Union who remain convinced Kony will sign a peace agreement and give up, no matter how many people he kills.


The latest bloody rampage, however, can be blamed on the Ugandan government which can be accused of botching this attack on Kony.

Instead of surrounding the camp before they bombed it, thus enabling the LRA and its leadership to be killed and/or captured as they fled, Uganda bombed first and sent troops two days later.

This allowed Kony and his army to disperse, taking what they needed, including their supposedly dead and wounded, assuming there were any.

Why has it taken so long for Uganda to produce proof of any casualties?

The problem now is that Uganda and the DRC are facing an extended guerrilla war in northern DRC, much like it suffered in northern Uganda.

Already, Kony's units have scattered, and despite the claims of "victory" by the Ugandan government, Kony was able to conduct coordinated attacks on and after Christmas day.

In short, it's deja-vu northern Uganda. The coming year promises to be a bleak one for the people of northern DRC.

And sadly, neither Kony nor his top commanders are any closer to being captured and put on trial before the International Criminal Court which has sought them since October 2005.

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