Friday, January 23, 2009

CAR joins, Congo extends

Photo left: Uganda army special forces alight from an assault helicopter during an operation against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) camp in Democratic Republic of Congo in December 2008 ( Reuters) Photo right: destroyed village in DRC, photo by Doctors Without Borders.

According to a story by Radio France International, the Central African Republic will participate in joint military operations with the Ugandan army against the rebel Lord's Resistance Army.

Led by self-proclaimed prophet Joseph Kony, the LRA has been on a killing spree in northeastern DR Congo since it was attacked on Dec. 14 by Ugandan forces. As it has in the past, the LRA is expected to cross into the CAR which has an undefended and porous border with the DRC.

The development comes as the DRC has agreed to let Ugandan troops remain in its country to hunt rebels for 21 more days, according to RFI.

Ugandan officials say the mandate for joint operations could be extended once more.

"Kony, if he was clever enough, he would either surrender, go to the designated area of Ri-Kwangba and sign the peace agreement," Captain Deo Akiiki, Ugandan army spokesman told RFI.

"If he continues fighting I don't believe he will succeed anyway. This is a different situation, a different territory and the successes against the LRA are evident," he added.

Akiiki told RFI that the LRA has no food because Ugandan troops destroyed its camps.

"I don't see where Kony's hiding. I am sure he will not get any other safe haven, not in the DRC, Southern Sudan or the Central African Republic," Akiiki said.

"We will not be diverted by LRA's tricks of breaking into two parts but we know where the main part of LRA is and we will go for them," Akiiki told RFI.

"Because of the pressure we are putting on them because of the many fighting squads we are having in their jungles" the attacks on civilians have stopped, he said.
But people in the region continue to flee for their lives, he said.

"Frightened people continue to move out of their villages, but at the moment at least we have all fighting mechanisms put in place to ensure that these destructions are not done," said Akiiki.

No comments: