Sunday, March 21, 2010

The ring of truth

The widely publicized report from Enough that a unit of the Lord's Resistance Army had found safe haven in south Darfur as guests of the Sudan government, may be in doubt.

A story last Friday by Nairobi-based reporter, Alisha Ryu of the Voice of America radio, titled, "Reports That LRA's Kony is Hiding in Darfur Alarm South Sudan," quotes an Enough researcher as saying no one really knows where LRA leader Joseph Kony is.

As I and others have warned for several years now, officials in South Sudan are worried that Kony is being equipped and preparing for attacks in advance of the south's elections next month and next year.

Additionally, as reported in this blog last week, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said that his military intelligence officials suspected that Kony, who had fled the Central African Republic, had joined LRA units in south Darfur.

However, when Ryu contacted Ledio Cakaj, the Kampala-based researcher for Enough, Cakaj said Kony's whereabouts is unknown.

"Kony could be anywhere," Cakaj told Ryu. "Having spoken to the Ugandan military intelligence services, I have found out that the military intelligence is not sure what happened to Kony," said Cakaj.

"There was a belief that he tried to go into south Darfur," the researcher added. "But it is very likely that he turned south. And we have heard - I would say fairly credible reports - he might have even crossed into Congo last week, close to Bas-Uele in Province Orientale," Cakaj added.

If Kony had crossed into the Congo when Cakaj suggests, it was within days of when Enough announced that it had confirmed the LRA's presence in Darfur.

As I showed last week, the Enough announcement was very old news. But more worrisome is that the announcement raises questions about both Kony's and the LRA's locations.

However, comments made by Enough's Cakaj have the clear ring of truth.

Assuming that Cakaj's comments are correct, it means trouble is on the move. If Kony has already "moved south," and could be in northeastern Congo, he and his army mostly likely have been resupplied.

If that is true, it would make sense for Kony to return to the Congo and regroup his scattered forces there for strikes into South Sudan. These strikes could come as early as the next couple of weeks and certainly by next month's general elections.

This eventuality is sadly the worst, but most likely of all.

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