The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union has adopted decisions to eliminate the LRA and all negative forces operating in the region, as well as to stabilize areas affected by the activities of the terrorist group.
At its 685th meeting held in Addis Ababa on 12 May 2017, the AU expresses deep appreciation to all AU partners, notably the USA, the EU and the UN, for their continued support to the Regional Co-operation Initiative for the elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA) and urges them to enhance their support, with a view to enabling the RTF to pursue and intensify its action towards the elimination of the threat that LRA continues to pose to the promotion of peace, security and stability in the region.
In March 2017, Major Michael Omona, a senior commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army who was in charge of communication for leader Joseph Kony, handed himself over to US troops in the Central African Republic.
In April, armed groups in the Central African Republic, occupied, looted and damaged schools, preventing thousands of children from getting their education, according to a report released by Human Rights Watch.
Human Rights Watch researcher Lewis Mudge who was in the CAR in November 2016 and January 2017, found even if the fighters were just outside the school, the students still could not, or would not, attend. Some children would have to pass by militia members who killed members of their family.
“We found just scores of children who spoke about how this had reduced self-worth, how they felt like they had no future, how they used to have big dreams and do not anymore,” Mudge said.
The Council reaffirms its commitment to the elimination of the LRA and all negative forces operating in the region and reiterating deep concern over the continued criminal activities of the LRA, as well as over the negative impact of those conducted by CAR armed groups, notably the ex-Seleka (Popular Front for the Rebirth of the Central African Republic or FPRC, and l’Union pour la Paix en Centrafrique or UPC), and Anti-Balaka, which undermine the peace process in that country and cause displacement of civilians, loss of lives and destruction of property, in the same theatre of LRA operations.
The Council also commends the progress made by the RCI-LRA towards the elimination of the LRA, particularly through the operations conducted by the Regional Task Force (RTF), which have significantly degraded the fighting capacity of the LRA.
“In this regard, Council commends RCI-LRA troop contributing countries for their relentless commitment to defeat the LRA. Council also commends the troops of the RTF for their commitment in the fight against the LRA, pays particular tribute to the RTF soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice and those who have sustained injuries in line of duty”.
The Council however noted that in spite of the progress achieved to date, the LRA has not yet been eliminated and still maintains the potential to rejuvenate itself, particularly, if the security vacuum following the withdrawal of the Ugandan People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and the US Special Forces is not urgently filled, and if the current momentum and pressure by the RTF are not sustained.