April 1-30, 2009
The joint military operation, now named "Rudia II," continued to make steady progress in pursuit of the LRA in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Captured LRA Lt. Col. Thomas Kwoyelo said that the military operation has disrupted LRA communications command control in an interview with the New Vision newspaper on April 26. He said that Kony is not interested in a peace deal.
Uganda Peoples Defense Force (UPDF) spokesperson, Major Felix Kulayigye reported that the UPDF is evaluating reports of possible fresh supplies to the LRA rebels inside the DRC. In March, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) intercepted 13 trucks carrying food supplies from Uganda to Doruma, DRC, an area with an LRA presence. The paperwork for the cargo indicated it was carrying supplies for CARITAS, a Catholic charity. CARITAS denied that it was delivering food to the LRA. Upon investigation, the UPDF found that the shipment documentation was fake and that CARITAS was not involved. The investigation is ongoing.
March 1-31, 2009
On March 3, the Ugandan military forces killed one LRA fighter and captured Colonel Thomas Kwoyelo during an ambush at Ukwa in DRC. Kwoyelo, who was injured during the fire exchange, was treated and repatriated to Uganda on March 5. Kwoyelo is a senior LRA commander and he is alleged to have killed 11 Ugandan students on March 28, 2001. On March 5, the joint military forces captured five LRA rebels and rescued two Ugandan women. On March 9, the joint military forces killed another senior LRA Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Okello Yape, and captured 16 fighters south west of Ri-Kwangba, near the DRC border and southern Sudan.
On March 9, the allied military forces rescued Catherine Ajok, a former student of St. Mary's Aboke Secondary School and 18 Congolese captives. On March 12 Ajok returned home along with her one year old baby after 13 years in LRA captivity. Ajok and her parents met President Museveni on March 14. Ajok was abducted along with over 100 other girls in October 1996. She was one of thirty that were not released after initial pleas from local residents. The fate of one "Aboke girl," Miriam Akello, remains unknown.
An additional 3,000 Congolese soldiers and over 100 UN peacekeepers will be deployed in the Garamba National Park to pursue the LRA rebels. UPDF spokesperson, Major Felix Kulayigye said the troops will fill the gap left after Ugandan troops withdrew on March 15.
Caritas Uganda, a Catholic charity organization, has again denied involvement in the supply of equipment to the LRA rebels. The organization was responding to media reports, where it was listed among organizations accused of supplying communication equipment to the LRA.
February 1-28, 2009
In February, Human Rights Watch issued a report entitled "The Christmas Massacres: LRA Attacks on Civilians in Northern Congo." The report, based on eyewitness accounts in Doruma, Duru, and Faradje, detailed the LRA's deadly rampage that HRW claims left some 865 dead and 160 abducted from late December 2008 to early January 2009. UNOCHA reports a lower number. According to HRW, the LRA also conducted attacks in September 2008 to punish local communities who helped defectors to escape. HRW reported that UPDF planners had intended on protecting civilians but were unable to do so when troops meant to provide protection arrived late due to bad weather and other complications hampered air transport. According to HRW, MONUC was instructed to give the situation in North Kivu top priority, which hampered its response to the area where LRA attacks were occurring. HRW urged enhanced protection for civilians, operational coordination between the allied forces and MONUC, increased logistical support from MONUC for the operation, and additional MONUC forces in the area.
We caution readers on the variability of the many estimates of casualties, abductions, and displaced persons. UNOCHA put the numbers killed by the LRA at 620 between December 24, 2008, and January 13, 2009. This is lower than the HRW estimate. Both HRW and UNOCHA agree that the LRA killed and abducted hundreds of people throughout 2008. UNOCHA says that between December 2007 and January 2009, 900 civilians were killed and 711 were abducted in DRC and Central African Republic. This includes two LRA killing and kidnapping sprees in February-March and from September to November 2008. In southern Sudan, UNOCHA reports 127 LRA-related deaths and 66 abductions throughout 2008 and 2009. Some 130,000 Congolese are displaced, including 30,000 that were displaced in Dungu during the September-November 2008 LRA killing spree, according to UNOCHA. But humanitarian organizations report that it is difficult to get accurate figures because many Congolese are moving into larger towns with relatives for added protection. As a result, these individuals are not necessarily working their fields for food.
To date, UNICEF reports 127 Congolese, Ugandan, and Sudanese children have been rescued thanks to OLT. UNICEF's protection officer reports that many Congolese children who escape are returning directly to their villages of origin, which has made it difficult to get accurate numbers. The Ugandan military reports that the total number of people rescued since OLT began is 346 adults and children.
The LRA continued to suffer losses of fighters and equipment as the UPDF stepped up the pace of its operations. On January 29, the UPDF freed 119 Congolese abductees, including children, which was the largest rescue of the operation. On January 30, Major Okello Opore, an escort to LRA Deputy Okot Odhiambo, died of injuries suffered in a firefight with the UPDF in Doruma. The joint forces rescued three Congolese individuals during the skirmish. On February 16, allied forced captured nine LRA members, mostly female fighters, in Dungu, and repatriated them to Uganda and southern Sudan. On February 22, the UPDF killed three LRA rebels and captured another in a battle that took place northwest of Duru.
January 1-31, 2009
The joint military operation, "Operation Lightning Thunder (OLT)," continued with close cooperation between allied forces from DRC, Uganda, and southern Sudan. On January 9, the allied countries agreed to reinforce the mission. On January 12, the Government of Central African Republic (CAR) announced that it would reinforce troops on the DRC border to prevent the LRA from escaping into its territory.
The LRA continued to suffer losses of fighters and equipment. On January 2, the Ugandan forces captured two LRA rebel commanders, James Onen and Peter Okot, and rescued eight Congolese captives. On January 13, the UPDF captured two LRA rebels during an ambush in Doruma. On January 19, the UPDF killed three LRA fighters during an exchange of fire north of Doruma. On January 22, OLT Joint Task Force Commander Brigadier General Patrick Kankiriho said the joint military forces killed nine LRA fighters and captured one during another engagement. On January 23, the UPDF reported that it killed 22 LRA rebels and rescued 11 captives during battles between January 18 and 22.
AFP reported that LRA deputy Okot Odhiambo told them that he had defected. He claimed that he had broken away from LRA leader Joseph Kony and that he was negotiating with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Odhiambo said he was badly injured and did not want to continue in the bush.
The LRA continued to attack civilians. On January 2, LRA rebels attacked Garamba National Park headquarters. United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reported 80 women were raped and 160 children abducted and 225 people displaced from Faradje, DRC in December. From January 1-9, the LRA abducted 13 people and burned houses in Mundri west, DRC, according to local officials. On January 7, the LRA killed four people including a police officer, abducted 10 others, and looted property when they attacked Bangolo. The LRA killed six Congolese including a soldier when they attacked Sambia on January 11. Fifteen civilians were killed on January 9 in Kana. The rebels reportedly killed five civilians and injured six others in Tora Town. Human Rights Watch reported that the LRA killed 300 people in Doruma during a massacre at Christmas.
On January 19, HRW reported that LRA rebels executed 16 Sudanese civilians, who had been abducted in a separate attack in south Sudan. Also on January 19, LRA rebels reportedly killed the Chief of Bamani in Ibba County in western Equatoria state. On January 20, LRA fighters killed two people including Chief Gordon Jalal Ngirimo of the Azande tribe and abducted two children during an attack in South Sudan. On January 22, the local residents vowed to form self-defense groups to counter the LRA.
On January 16, Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, John Holmes, briefed the UNSC on the situation in northeastern DRC. Holmes said that the situation had deteriorated following the failure of LRA leader Kony to sign the FPA. Holmes pointed out that LRA rebels had committed atrocities in south Sudan, DRC and CAR. He urged the LRA to cease hostilities, sign the FPA, begin assembly and demobilization without delay, and immediately release all abductees, particularly women and children. He reminded Uganda, Congolese, and southern Sudanese military forces to conduct their operations in strict compliance with international humanitarian law. He urged them to take all feasible precautions to spare civilians from the effects of hostilities, including non-combatant women and children who are among the LRA fighters. Holmes stated that he would visit the DRC, including Dungu and Faradje, to see the situation at first hand in February.
USG Activities: P/E Chief and DATT met with HRW analysts who had just returned from a three-week visit to Doruma, Duru, and Faradje. The HRW team estimates that the LRA killed 800 people and abducted 460 children between September and December 2008. LRA attacks in September and October in the Dungu area were likely in retaliation against local communities for assisting LRA defectors. In December, the LRA's brutal attacks against civilians deepened civilian resentment and made it more difficult for surrendering LRA or escapees to make it to safety.
December 1 - 31
The joint military operations in Garamba National Park against the LRA were ongoing at month's end. The Ugandan Government stated that the initial air-strikes disrupted the LRA and put key leaders on the run. Military spokesmen described current operations as a "cordon and search" phase of the operation, designed to flush out Kony.
Various LRA groups have carried out atrocities in the DRC and southern Sudan, killing some 400 in attacks on churches and villages between December 24 and 27. The Ugandan Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) confirmed reports from the Catholic charity, CARITAS, of the deadly attacks on the Congolese villages of Bitima, Faradge, Gurba, and Doruma. MONUC and the Ugandan military transported additional Congolese troops to these areas to provide protection for the civilian populations.
The UN Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reported similar mass killings in southern Sudan, but did not provide casualty numbers. Press reports indicate one group of LRA was headed for Maridi, southern Sudan, and another comprised of wounded LRA members and women and children was headed toward the Central African Republic (CAR). Military and Foreign Ministry spokesmen said that the Ugandan Government has contacted CAR about the LRA movements. MONUC pledged continued support for the protection of civilians. On December 31, Congolese Minister for Communication and Information, Lambert Mende Omalanga, stated that the government would deploy additional troops to protect the populations in areas under LRA attack.
November 1-30, 2008
On November 1, LRA rebels reportedly killed three Congolese soldiers and abducted 36 boys and 21 girls when they attacked Dungu in Orientale Province, eastern DRC.
October 1 - 31 2008
On October 8, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that a total of 23,000 Congolese fled their homes due to LRA attacks in September. UNHCR estimates that up to 150 Congolese had crossed daily from the DRC to the villages of Sakure, 15 kilometers south of Yambio, and Gangura, 30 kilometers south-west of Yambio, in southern Sudan. Approximately 5,000 Congolese were reported in Yambio, while 17,000 others are in the Dungu area of northeastern DRC. The UN, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission undertook joint operations to assist the displaced.
On October 10, the UN Mission in Congo (MONUC) said LRA rebels killed 52 civilians and abducted 159 children when they attacked Dungu town. MONUC's Political Affairs Officer Jacob Mogeni called for a strategy to deal with the LRA and other negative forces during a border security meeting.
September 1 - 31 2008
According to MONUC, ten LRA rebels ambushed and kidnapped a group of 16 Congolese villagers on their way to a market along the Dungu/Firaz/Isoro Road on September 4-5. The villagers were from Dimba. LRA rebels reportedly raped the women, killed two villagers, and wounded three others. Angry villagers reportedly killed two LRA rebels in the scuffle. The Congolese military was informed of the incident.
There were several additional reports of LRA attacks and abductions in Kiliwa, Duru, and Dungu, DRC, between September 17 and 20. An estimated ninety school children were reportedly abducted from the Duru Institute and Kiliwa Primary School and a local chief and his son were killed. Ugandan Minister of Internal Affairs Ruhakana Rugunda said that eight Congolese were killed in the attacks. Catholic missionaries report that the LRA looted, abducted children, and burned down buildings. MONUC confirmed the attacks and both MONUC and the Congolese military reportedly began deploying in the area. Public demonstrations in Dungu have put pressure on the Government of DRC to take action against the LRA. UPDF Spokesman Major Paddy Ankunda said that the UPDF was prepared to defend the border area from an LRA incursion.
On September 18, LRA rebels reportedly killed two Sudanese civilians when they attacked a Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) barrack at Sakure. Col. Joseph Ngere, a senior official in southern Sudan's Equatoria State Government, told BBC that the LRA rebels carried out several attacks after killing an unspecified number of Congolese civilians. He reported that the rebels also burned houses among other abuses. The Central African Republic (CAR) government reportedly announced its willingness to join the regional military solution to end the LRA insurgency in the region. According to press reports, Sudan and the DRC have committed themselves to deal with the LRA militarily if the rebels do not sign the FPA.
On September 9, Harris Woboya, Coordinator of the Mine Action Program, reported that Lira District is free of unexploded ordnance following a five-month collection exercise. Woboya said the team continues to search for unexploded ordnance in Kitgum, Amuru, Pader, Gulu and Kasese Districts.
On July 31, Save the Children Uganda Deputy Country Director John Reinstein demanded the immediate and unconditional release of children under LRA captivity. He stated that it is important to pressure Joseph Kony to release the children despite the stalling of the peace process. Reinstein noted that over 5,000 Uganda children were still missing, but the group expected only 1,500 to return home.
In May 2008, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) conducted a joint review on the implementation of two MOUs signed between the ICRC and the Uganda Peoples' Defense Force (UPDF) and the Uganda Police Force (UPDF), to integrate International Humanitarian Law within military doctrine, training and operations. As a result, 25 UPDF instructors and legal officers, including military media and medical staff, attended the seventh two-week "Training of Trainers" course in Jinja. In April 2008, 500 UPDF soldiers and 173 police officers attended human rights information sessions in northern Uganda.
From April to June 2008, ICRC training in principles of humanitarian law reached 400 UPDF soldiers at Fourth Division military training camp; 75 participants in Awach camp; local leaders, administrators and the general public in Gulu and Amuru Districts; 98 local leaders and 60 community members in Kitgum District; and 96 UPDF soldiers and 173 police in Pader District.
Security agencies in the north intensified the search for weapons abandoned during the conflict. On August 4, Fourth Division Spokesperson Captain Ronald Kakurungu said the Army, police, and humanitarian agencies worked together to clear return areas of weapons, ordnance, and landmines. He reported that 175 submachine guns, 60 rocket-propelled grenades, five mortars, three pistols, 67 grenades, 75 land mines, three machine guns, 159 bombs of mortar and airdrop types, and 10,228 rounds of live ammunition were recovered.
On August 11, Uganda's Principal Judge James Ogoola stated that the War Crimes Court set up to try crimes committed in the north cannot start operations before a law outlining its modalities is enacted. Ogoola said the law would define what constitute serious war crimes and determine sanctions for those crimes.
July 12-31, 2008
UN agencies could not verify rumors of alleged movements of LRA elements at the borders with Sudan. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the north were advised to maintain their operations as usual. A group of about 30 rebels were reported to be in the proximity of Kajo Keji while a second group of about 40 were reported in the western parts on southern Sudan near Yei. The second group scattered into four smaller groups after a rebel was shot and killed during contact with Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA). During these movements, two Sudanese civilians were abducted in Kajo Keji.
On July 11, Fourth Division Commander Brigadier Charles Otema announced that the UPDF will withdraw its troops from IDP camp detachments in the north at the end of July. The move is aimed at enabling the Uganda Police Force to effectively keep law and order in the communities. Meanwhile, on July 14, the police started a door-to-door community policing exercise in Gulu District.
The Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Tarsis Kabwegyere reported that the Humanitarian Demining Department in the Office of the Prime Minister had destroyed a total of 15,214 items of unexploded ordnance and 20 land mines since 2006. He told the Parliamentary Committee on Presidential Affairs that 321 pieces of explosives ordnance were yet to be destroyed. The affected districts include Pader, Kitgum, Gulu, Amuru, Soroti, Oyam, Bundibugyo and Kasese. Meanwhile, some IDPs are reportedly hesitant to leave camps for fear of mines in their fields.
On July 22, military chiefs from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Uganda met in Entebbe to discuss the way forward in dealing with negative forces in the region. Uganda's Army Commander Major General Aronda Nyakairima reported that an earlier meeting in June, LRA rebels had continued to recruit, kill and amass wealth. He urged the regional governments to take military action instead of talking about eradicating the negative forces.
USG Activities: USAID/OFDA is improving water, sanitation and hygiene, and disseminating messages about Hepatitis E through the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Mercy Corps, AVSI, and Action Conte La Faim (Action Against Hunger – ACF) in the Acholi sub-region. USAID/OTI, through its contractor Casals and Associates, established operations in Gulu and initial program activities in Gulu and Amuru districts. The USAID/OTI engagement seeks to increase the capacity of citizens' associations and local government to respond to the needs of returning IDPs and increase access to accurate and timely media information to build confidence among IDPs and encourage voluntary return.
With support from USAID, the Ministry of Education and the Uganda Local Governments Association held an Education Summit which covered 40 districts under the GOU's Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) in Gulu June 19 to 21. The summit focused setting priorities and standards for implementation of the education components of the PRDP. Participants discussed the need to improve the learning environment for students, service providers, leadership, legal/policy/budgetary frameworks, standards, infrastructure, and the curriculum.
June 1 - July 11, 2008
At a Great Lakes Region Security Chiefs meeting in Kampala on June 2, participants agreed that military action would likely be needed to deal with the LRA. The press reported on June 16 that LRA rebels were moving towards the Uganda border. The rebels had allegedly killed 21 people when they attacked the towns of Nabanga and Yamba at the Congo-Sudan border on June 4. On June 10, Army Chief Aronda Nyakairima reportedly traveled to south Sudan to finalize plans to confront LRA rebels. On June 5, the LRA rebels reportedly killed two Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers after they resumed their offensive in southern Sudan. On June 15, LRA rebels clashed with SPLA soldiers on the border with Uganda. Earlier on June 14, LRA rebels abducted two people and looted food when they attacked Pageri village in south Sudan. One of the captives was later released.
A new wave of crime was reported in Kitgum District. On June 9, armed criminals attacked Palabek IDP camp, creating fears that it could be the LRA rebels. There were no reports of injuries. On June 10, UPDF reportedly deployed to the Uganda-Sudan border to counter any potential LRA attack. On June 30, GOSS Vice President and Chief Mediator Riek Machar reportedly ordered Ugandan troops out of Southern Sudan after UPDF soldiers allegedly killed a Sudanese civilian and abducted another during operations against the LRA rebels. UPDF spokesperson, Major Paddy Ankunda said Uganda had not received an official communication from the GOSS.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused LRA rebels of human trafficking and engaging in fresh abductions and sexual violence. A June report called for international action to execute arrest warrants issued by the ICC against the top LRA leaders. HRW called on the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution or presidential statement supporting efforts to rein in the capacity of the rebels and to ensure justice is handed to the culprits.
May 3-31, 2008
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on May 19 that the LRA had carried out more than 100 abductions and many more in the Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan since February. HRW said the captured boys are made to act as porters or are subjected to military training. The girls are allegedly used as sex slaves. HRW appealed to the international community to end the spree of new LRA spree of abductions and sexual violence and to execute arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the group's leaders.
On May 20, armed LRA rebels reportedly invaded Kapili village, 75 kilometers north of west of Dungu, eastern DRC and displaced the entire population. An unspecified number of people were abducted. According to the Justice and Peace Commission of the Dungu Diocese, the rebels looted property and occupied houses that were left behind by fleeing Congolese villagers. Meanwhile, on May 25, the ICC said it was investigating the alleged abductions and attacks.
A May report released by the Civil Society Organizations for Peace in Northern Uganda recommended that all former LRA rebels and persons holding illegal guns should be disarmed in order to achieve total peace in the region. The coalition of 77 local and international NGOs cautioned that the recovered weapons should be well documented, stored or destroyed.
There were reports that the risk of unexploded devices was slowing down the return of IDPs to their homes. Seven children were killed in an explosion in the north mid-May. The army said the explosion was caused by a cluster bomb. Meanwhile, the killing of LC Chairman of Okede village in Adilang Sub County by Karamojong warriors prompted IDPs who had returned to their villages on the border with Karamoja region to threaten to return to the camps, if the army did not deploy to protect them.
March 1-April 18, 2008
LRA movements from Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Central African Republic, sometimes through southern Sudan resulted in numerous reports of abductions and lootings. UNICEF reports that the LRA abducted over 200 people in DRC in February and March. The U.S Ambassador to CAR traveled to Obo to meet with villagers and individuals abducted by the LRA. They said that the LRA abducted 157 people. Southern Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar announced on April 17 that some 55 individuals had been abducted from Western Equatoria.
February 1-29, 2008
Large numbers of LRA moved into Central African Republic on/about February 15, according to humanitarian organizations. LRA leader Joseph Kony reportedly remained in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). There have been sightings and attacks carried out by various groups, including the LRA, in southern Sudan. Some small groups involved in attack may contain LRA mixed with other armed elements. Armed militias and bandits also have been seen in Eastern and Western Equatoria.
The re-establishment of civilian authority in northern Uganda continues to be a challenge for the judicial system. There are 670 people in Gulu Prison, which has a capacity of 200. Patongo Prison holds 200 prisoners despite its capacity of 74. There were increasing numbers of referrals of offenders from other districts, only one resident High Court Judge, and increasing crime rates. In Lango, judicial officials report a case backlog, due to an increase in the number of defilement cases being handled due to changes in the Sexual Offences Bill amendments. Previously, defilement was a capital offence and cases were only heard at the High Court.
Across the Acholi sub-region deployment of Special Police Constables (SPCs) continued. As of January, approximately 1680 SPCS were deployed and 2320 others were undergoing training. However, most SPCs remain at the sub-county level and have not yet deployed to the lower, parish level. In Kitgum, lack of housing continued to hamper police deployments. Two hundred units per sub-county are planned. Additionally, training of SPCs remains a concern. SPCs receive one month training compared to nine months for regular police prior to deployment. The International Committee of the Red Cross and the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights are trying to fill this gap with supplemental training on child rights and gender-based violence, and an introduction to human rights.
December 1 -31, 2007
On December 16, suspected LRA rebels raided a Catholic mission in Duru, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), near the border with Sudan. Duru is approximately 90 kilometers from Dungu. The suspected LRA looted the Comboni mission and hospital, briefly holding an Italian priest hostage.
The Government of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo held the Fifth Session of the Uganda-DRC Joint Permanent Commission on December 12 in Kampala. The last meeting was held 10 years ago. Issues discussed included the presence of the LRA in Garamba National Park. Three working groups on defense and security, social economic cooperation, and political and diplomatic relations worked on resolving outstanding issues. Both parties agreed to normalize diplomatic relations by March 2008.
November 3- 30, 2007
On November 13, Onen Kamdulu, a former LRA director of 0perations, was arrested for aggravated robbery in Gulu. Kamadulu was detained with former LRA members Maj. Thomas Opiyo, UPDF Lieutenant Odongkara Ajiba, and four other individuals. They were charged with robbing Sunday Opayat in Anganga village, Akokoro sub-county. Kamadulu was one of the key state witnesses against FDC leader Kizza Besigye. The Bon Ayom area of Pader District remains tense after a series of robberies, freshly planted land mines, and the killing of two members of local defense units (LDU) occurred in a one-month period. UPDF are patrolling the area. There have been no reported incidents since October 30. U.N. security will undertake an assessment to determine when travel restrictions can be lifted.
October 20- November 2, 2007
On November 1, two Ugandan staff of the international non-governmental organization Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) were killed when armed assailants in Amuru District attacked their vehicle. Two other staff members in the vehicle survived the attack, although one was wounded and is being treated at a hospital in Gulu. ACTED has accounted for all staff involved in the incident. UNDSS and local authorities are conducting an investigation. The team was implementing a cash-for-work roads program.
Former Director of Operations for the LRA Alfred Onen Kamudulu was arrested on October 28 with ten other individuals at a hideout at Maruzi farm in Apac District. Kamudulu and his accomplices were accused of robbing several individuals to purchase food. They were also carrying arms. The group appeared in court on October 29 for questioning.
The Government of Southern Sudan accused Khartoum of attempting to derail the LRA peace talks. During a meeting with Ugandan ministers, Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) minister, Lt. Gen. Dominic Dim Deng, stated that Khartoum did not want peace in Southern Sudan and was supporting the impersonation of SPLA soldiers. Deng's remarks came at a meeting with Ugandan diplomatic and security officials on October 29. Ugandan officials expressed concern after several fatal attacks and incidents of harassment of Ugandan traders in Juba, allegedly at the hands of police and SPLA soldiers.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) continued to provide support to the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) and the Uganda Police Force (UPF) in implementing internationally recognized Humanitarian Principles into their training and standard operating procedures.
ICRC facilitated the training of military personnel which promoted the integration of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) standards within military doctrine, training, and operations. The activities that they took part in included:
One hundred seventy-eight officers at an Officers' Basic Course (OBC) attended one-day dissemination on ICRC mandate and activities in Kabamba in July.
One senior UPDF officer attended the Senior Workshop on International Rules governing Military operations in Geneva in August.
Thirty senior officers from the Second Division covering western Uganda attended a 3-day basic IHL course in Kasese district in August.
Forty-six political, legal and intelligence officers from the 5th Division headquarters in Acholiland attending a two day introduction to IHL in August.
Thirty instructors and legal officers attended the fifth Training of Trainers' course according to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Jinja in September.
The ICRC and the UPDF IHL Desk jointly carried out a review of IHL implementation and teaching in seven military training schools: Kabamba, Singo, Butiaba, Kaweweta, Bihanga, Junior Staff College (JSC) and Jinja Military Academy (JMA). A donation of IHL military teaching files and audiovisual materials was made to the seven training schools. Two schools (JSC and JMA) received IHL books.
- An ICRC trained instructor of the Training Planning Unit Kampala conducted sessions on Humanitarian Principles for 300 Anti-Stock Theft Unit personnel in Pader district.
- Three hundred UPDF soldiers and auxiliary forces (LDUs) in seven camps (Pawel, Palaro, Pabbo, Bibia, Binya, Tegot and Lolim) attended information sessions on ICRC mandate, activities, the Red Cross Emblem and introduction to IHL.
- Two hundred twenty-six Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) soldiers and Local Defense Unit (LDU) guards in Karenga (158) and Labworoyeng detachment (68) attended an information session on the history of the Red Cross Movement, the ICRC activities and basic rules of behavior in combat.
- Sixty-nine Local Defense Unit (LDU) guards attended information sessions on the ICRC mandate, activities, the Red Cross Emblem, and introduction to IHL. Fifteen LDU's attended the session in Omiya Pacwa, 30 in Paimol, nine in Barayom, eight in Koyo Lalogi and seven in Pacer.
September 8 - September 21, 2007
On September 21, the Ugandan Peoples' Defense Forces announced that it had court martialed 120 soldiers for capital offenses such as murder, rape, defilement, and armed robbery in northern Uganda since September 2006, according to spokesman Lt. Chris Magezi. The UPDF's disciplinary committee tried cases of minor offenses. The cases of 21 soldiers were still at trial at the Fourth Division Court Martial. Magezi said "the UPDF image is sacred and therefore the army will continue to guard it. It will not hesitate to punish any soldier who engages in criminal activities that breach the army's standard operating procedures."
USG Activities: On September 21, USAID, DOJ/ICITAP, and Embassy personnel participated in a lessons-learned review of the pilot community justice activity in Lira District that ends on September 30. These lessons will feed into any future activities in security sector reform; justice, law and order; and community policing. The goals of the four-month pilot project were to provide training for police trainers and improve the coordination between police, prosecutors, and magistrates in support of re-establishment of a civilian-controlled judicial system in Lira District. Four police advisors and a prosecutor worked with the Ugandan Police Force and judges to design a one week community policing program aimed at training newly-recruited Special Police Constables. The specific skills taught included crime scene investigation, interrogation, report writing, and first aid. The Lira Police Station was given a face-lift intended to project a more professional image for the police and four motorbikes were donated to the police and one to the prosecutor's office. Twenty-two trainers and 72 Special Police Constables (SPCs) were trained in four different iterations of the course. The instructors will deploy on motorbikes and conduct training for SPCs at the sub-county level.
As part of the DOJ/ICITAP program, the U.N. Office for the High Commission for Human Rights conducted human rights training for the constables and was involved in all stages of the program development. The police force also was given techniques for using daily roll call to disseminate information and training to officers. A unique part of the pilot was the involvement of church leaders and faith-based organizations to assist the police with juvenile justice issues. Local churches were enlisted to assist in the protection of children who commit crimes. Due to a lack of remand facilities for children in the north, the juvenile is released to his family but his punishment, such as community service, is overseen by local church officials.
The Joint Monitoring Commission was set to hold its last meeting on October 3. President Museveni reportedly will attend and formally launch the PRDP.
August 25 -September 7, 2007
August 12 - August 24, 2007
August 15 to 17 Senior Advisor on Conflict Resolution, Timothy Shortley, traveled to northern Uganda to meet with local leaders and affected populations. The primary objectives of the trip were to discuss the peace process in Juba, including community consultations on agenda item three; how the US can help ensure a successful conclusion to the peace process, and a dignified return of the displaced population (IDPs); and support reconciliation and recovery. The Senior Advisor met with IDPs and returnees in Omiyanima sub-county, Kitgum District, district officials in Gulu and Kitgum, NGOs, UN agencies, members of the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative, and the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO). The visit was well received. There is positive momentum around the peace process and IDP returns; however, gaps remain in recovery assistance that if unaddressed could hamper slow the process of recovery.
No security threats in LRA areas. Little activity along the eastern boarder with Karamoja, raids are usually low during the rainy season.
Deputy Chief of Police Otim and State Prosecutor Martin agreed to implement roll call training for constables with the assistance of a prosecutor providing legal updates. This new process will improve skills and knowledge and allow constables to perform at a higher level in serving the public.
July 29- August 11, 2007
As part of USAID support for reconstituting the police in northern Uganda, U.S. Department of Justice's ICITAP conducted a basic investigators course assessment from July 11 to July 26 in Lira for police officers and police personnel. The course covered community policing; crime scene investigation; rights of prisoners, arrestees, women and children; police ethics and first aid to name a few. The course was comprised of theory, practical exercises, and lectures from experts.
July 1-14, 2007
USG Activities: A community policing and integrated administration of justice pilot project funded by USAID and State/INLis is starting up in Lira district. Trainers from the Department of Justice International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) note that police and other justice, law and order institutions in northern Uganda are facing difficulties due to the lack of essential supplies and equipment in the offices and courts. The absence of computers and communications hinders the ability of the police to re-establish a functioning civilian police system. They also lack transportation for both officers and investigators. There are only two motorcycles and one vehicle provided for the entire Lira district. The conditions of the offices are difficult due to water and termite damage. Poor communication reduces the ability of the police to respond in a timely manner to incidents and is a huge safety issue. On a more positive note, a conference of local residents was held to discuss the community justice project.
June 17-June 30, 2007
UN security officials report an upsurge in urban crime rates over the past two weeks in Gulu and Kitgum towns. Two NGOs were robbed by armed assailants in Patongo, Pader District in the past two weeks.
May 18-June 2, 2007
According to U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Juba, the Cessation of Hostilities Monitoring Team (CHMT) was working out proposed assembly routes after the LRA rejected the Ugandan Peoples' Defense Forces (UPDF) and Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA) proposed routes announced on May 8. The CHMT announced the routes and reported that various LRA groups have crossed the Nile and were moving to Garamba National Park.
On May 19, a group of 75 alleged LRA attacked villages north of Laihya, Central Equatoria State, Southern Sudan, which is 25 miles west of Juba. One of the homes looted belonged to the Southern Sudanese Minister of Information, Samson Kwaje, who is also a member of the mediating team. On May 22, the LRA attacked the village of Fore, 80 miles west of Juba. Two SPLA soldiers were killed during an LRA attack on May 23 near the same village. The LRA group, with Commander Thomas Kwoyello, was believed to be responsible for these attacks.
In LRA-affected northern Uganda, the general security situation remained calm in Lango, Teso and Acholi regions. In Kaabong, Karamoja, a WFP truck was attacked and one staff person killed, reportedly by Karamojong. WFP temporarily suspended operations. Otuke county, Lira District and portions of eastern Pader District continue to be affected by Karamajong attacks.
May 1-May 17, 2007
The Ugandan Peoples' Defense Forces (UPDF) and Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA) gave the LRA the approved corridors for assembly of LRA forces from Owiny Kibul area to Rikwangba on May 8. After Kony and Otti give their approval of the routes, the LRA forces in that area will have seven days to assemble at Rikwangba. LRA members in other parts of southern Sudan or northern Uganda have until June 30 to assemble.
The LRA reportedly ambushed vehicles on the Gulu-Nimule road at the Uganda-Sudan border on April 30. Seven people were killed, several reportedly abducted, and property looted. LRA leaders are playing down the incident. LRA deputy, Vincent Otti, called Radio Mega FM in Gulu and said that LRA members should not attack civilians.
April 7-April 30, 2007
On April 2, twelve Sudanese were killed and 14 people injured, including five Ugandans, in suspected LRA ambushes on three vehicles in southern Sudan. There also was a report that LRA rebels associated with Thomas Kwoyello may have raided Mugali village in Sudan, killing two persons and abducting five others.
The Ugandan military reported a clash between the LRA and UPDF in Eastern Equatoria, southern Sudan, on April 19 left one Ugandan soldier dead.
March 10-23, 2007
As a result of the improved security in Kitgum, a number of NGOs have stopped using military escorts. UN agencies in the district access some 17 of 25 IDP camps without military escort. Many agencies also were able to spend nights in the camps, while a number of them have permanently deployed staff at project areas such as health centers in the camps. Child night commuting in the district may be coming to an end with efforts by child protection agencies to phase out completely the phenomenon. Along with improved security, the support by UNICEF and its partners to assess the situation of the night commuter caseload and provide outreach activities in areas of return has contributed to a dramatic reduction in night commuter numbers.
The improved security in northern Uganda also has led to increased access to land for cultivation and food security. Agencies in the district have begun distribution of agricultural inputs including seeds and tools to over 50,000 households in IDP camps. The water situation in Kitgum was likely to improve with the movement of people from the camps and recent efforts by humanitarian agencies to provide water points at most areas of return. Sanitation remains appalling in most camps, however, with average latrine coverage of 78.4 persons per latrine compared with a minimum sphere standard of 20.
The judiciary's program to eliminate backlogged court cases and decongest prisons in northern Uganda was restarted on March 19. Principal Justice James Ogoola launched the second round of court sessions, which will take place in five cities. A backlog of 340 cases could be cleared in Lira at the completion of the sessions.
The Ugandan Police Force expressed disappointment that only 60 of the 500 candidates for recruitment were women during a recent recruitment exercise in northern Uganda. The UPF's target for female recruitment is 30 percent.
Press reports indicated that the LRA killed one person on March 20 in Southern Sudan. Some 1,500 persons were allegedly displaced in eastern Equatoria, southern Sudan, according to the Sudan Tribune as reported in Ugandan newspapers. The rebels looted food from a town nine miles east of Torit.
February 27-March 9, 2007
Kitgum security officials reaffirmed their commitment to protect the public and noted that there was a marked improvement in security in the district since the beginning of the year. Officials remain concerned about the presence of a small group of LRA in Labone, South Sudan, about 20 kilometers from the border with Uganda.
The judiciary's program to eliminate backlogged court cases and decongest prisons in northern Uganda will begin another round of court sessions in five cities. Although it was supposed to begin on March 5, the launch was postponed until Uganda's courts resumed business, which was suspended over the invasion of the High Court premises by government security forces to re-arrest individuals who had been granted bail.
February 10-26, 2007
Most security concerns in recent weeks have focused on Karamoja and the sub-counties of Pader, Lira, Amuria and Katawki districts that border the Karamoja region. At Monday's meeting of the Joint Monitoring Committee, for example, the Kitgum district Chairperson reported four deaths and ten wounded this month as a result of cattle raids from Kotido. The Chairs of Lira, Katakwi and Amuria voiced similar concerns, and all recommended greater efforts at inter-communal peace building aimed at "disarming the Karimojong mentally."
The situation in the LRA-affected areas has remained quiet. Kitgum's District Security Officer reported that for the last month there were no reports of LRA movement inside the district or any violent acts committed by the Karamojong. Nevertheless, major non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are restricting travel between March 1-5, after the latest Cessation of Hostilities Agreement expires.
In contrast, Gulu Resident District Commissioner Walter Ochora assured IDPs that they do not need to go back to camps and that the UPDF will provide security whether or not a peace agreement is signed. The Amuru District Chairperson reported the security situation as normal, and that people have started returning to their homesteads. Humanitarian organizations estimate 400,000 IDPs are on the move to new sites throughout the Acholi Sub-region. Few have returned all the way home (3,297). The World Food Program's revalidation exercise confirmed 700,000 IDPs in Gulu and Amuru districts.
The judiciary's program to eliminate backlogged court cases and decongest prisons in northern Uganda will begin another round of court sessions in five cities on March 5. Principal Judge James Ogoola will join seven other judges to hear cases in Gulu, Kitgum, Soroti, Lira, and Kumi for a two-month period. The judges will handle 534 cases. The Prime Minister's Office is using 215 million shillings (USD equivalent) to fund the exercise from the Humanitarian Emergency Action Program for Northern Uganda.
A similar exercise undertaken by the "Gulu Civil Court Sessions" was a joint project between the High Court of Uganda and Restore International, a U.S.-based NGO. From October-November 2006, six judges heard 104 of 140 cases in Gulu to start clearing out the backlogged cases. Until recently the courts were unable to sit due to insecurity in the north, resulting in a build-up of hundreds of cases. Restore International supported U.S. law students to prepare the case briefs for the judges. World Bank funding will be used for reconstruction and furnishing of courts in the north.
January 27-February 9, 2007
The numbers of night commuters are down to 2,700 in December 2006, according to UNICEF. These numbers are down from 23,885 in December 2005. UNICEF cites the improved security situation for the dramatic decrease.
Alice Lakwena, the founder of the Holy Spirit Movement and cousin to LRA leader Joseph Kony, who died on January 18 in a refugee camp in Kenya, was buried in her ancestral home in Gulu district on February 10. The Government of Uganda arranged the return of Lakwena's body from Kenya and paid for the burial costs.
Re-establishing rule of law and a functioning judicial system is moving slowly and illustrates other coordination and planning problems that are arising. Local district officials are concerned that newly arrived police officers have no food and are dependent on either the military or WFP for rations. UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reports that the paralegals with the Legal Aid Project assisting the courts in Gulu have stopped work because they have not been paid by the Uganda Law Society. The paralegals have been assisting judges recently deployed to Gulu to remove the backlog of court cases.
January 13-26, 2007
On January 19, a lorry in southern Sudan, at the junction between Amer and Magwi was ambushed, allegedly by the LRA, according to press reports. Some passengers were still missing; others walked 10 kilometers to a UPDF detachment.
The UPDF stated that 23 trucks have been ambushed and burned since August 2006 in southern Sudan.
Alice Lakwena, the founder of the Holy Spirit Movement and cousin to LRA leader Joseph Kony, died on January 18 in a refugee camp in Kenya. The cause of death is unknown, but she had a lingering illness. The Government of Uganda is defraying the costs of Lakwena's burial and sent Gulu District Chairman Mao traveled to Kenya to facilitate the return of Lakwena's body this week. Minister of Internal Affairs Rugunda said that the Ugandan Government is offering assistance to Lakwena's family in making the burial arrangements, but there would be no state funeral as the family had requested.
On January 17, elected officials from Lira District attended a dinner with Ambassador and Embassy Staff to discuss the security situation in northern Uganda and the latest updates on peace negotiations. The officials said that even if LRA leaders agreed to a peace agreement there would still be major security concerns from raids by Karamojong cattle rustlers. The officials said many of the IDPs in camps near the Karamoja region would not return to their lands unless a solution can be found to prevent incursions by the Karamojong raiders.
The local officials stated that any LRA peace agreement that included a component of "Mato Oput" (traditional mechanism of reconciliation) would require approval by Teso, Lango and Acholi tribes. Members of the Lango tribe said the Acholi tribe could not make this decision unilaterally. The elected leaders stated that "bringing the LRA fighters back into the community" was a primary concern, although during the course of discussions some added that there must be some sort of justice other than Mato Oput.
USG Activities: Elisabeth Roesch is visiting Uganda from January 13-31 as a consultant to USAID's Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation (CMM) to carry out a case study of the Uganda peace process. Her findings will contribute to a Peace Process Toolkit being prepared by CMM to provide guidance to staff. Her work will also be part of an evaluation of USAID's Northern Uganda Peace Initiative and the design of future peace and reconciliation activities. She is meeting with Government of Uganda officials at the national and local level, civil society leaders, development partners and residents of IDP camps, to gain a broad understanding of USAID's contributions and comparative strengths in promoting peace and reconciliation in northern Uganda.
Media reports indicate that the government has issued fresh guidelines for the resettlement of internally displaced people. Before IDPs can leave the camps, the district security committees will determine the safety of the villages of proposed return while upholding the principles of freedom of movement. The Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) statement sets out that district disaster management committees, will undertake collaborative assessments on the status of population movement and social services in areas of return and resettlement with the involvement of IDP representatives including women, persons with disabilities and youth. The government plans to increase the deployment of civilian police in the areas of return and displacement. The JMC statement emphasizes the need for clear, consistent and coherent messaging consistent with the principles of the National IDP policy and the need for basic service provision in the areas of return and resettlement.
December 23, 2006-January 12, 2007
During a visit to the assembly area at Owiny Kibul, the Cessation of Hostilities Monitoring Team reported that no LRA had assembled, but that CARITAS was there with food and water supplies.
The LRA and/or other unidentified militias were believed to be involved in a number of ambushes along roads between Uganda and Juba. On December 28, a UPDF officer was ambushed 20 kilometers from Juba along the Juba-Nisito Road. On January 2, ambushes along the Juba-Nimule road left four dead and six wounded. On January 7, unidentified gunmen ambushed a truck along the Juba-Nimule road, killing an SPLA soldier and a Ugandan truck driver. On January 10, a World Food Program employee was killed during an ambush along the Juba-Torit road, 40 kilometers from Juba. The SPLA is now escorting vehicles in convoy and the UPDF stated it beefed up its border security in response to the ambushes.
December 9-22, 2006
Four ambushes along the Juba-Torit road in southern Sudan between December 12 and 15 have been attributed to the LRA and others. Forty people were killed in the attacks on lorries headed for Juba.
November 25-December 8, 2006
Reports that LRA movements from South Sudan toward northern Uganda near the West Nile region raised the alert status of the Ugandan military. A group of six LRA members moved into Moyo District under orders from Otti. One of the LRA members surrendered, the other five are at large.
Humanitarian organizations are able to access most IDP camps without military escort due to the improved security situation. In Kitgum, 17 of 25 camps can be accessed without escort and the remaining eight only require one escort vehicle. In Pader, 19 of 29 camps can be accessed without escort, with nine requiring one escort. Only Latanya camp in Pader requires two escort vehicles. In Gulu, 61 out of 65 camps do not require military escort, four require only one escort vehicle.
November 11-24, 2006
The security situation in LRA-affected northern Uganda remained calm. The GOU's efforts to clear back-logged courts in Gulu continues. On October 20, the project was exceeding GOU expectations.
October 28-November 10, 2006
There have been no LRA-related incidents in northern Uganda. However, the GOU reports that armed ethnic Karamojong have attacked local residents in areas vacated by the LRA. Two Karamojong attacks in Pader District have occurred. In the first, a man was kidnapped and his animals stolen in Orungu IDP camp. He was released the next day. Another attack occurred in Osubu sub-county.
The Government is moving forward with its plans to re-establish rule law in the north. In October, the Ministry of Justice deployed High Court judges to Gulu to clear the backlog of court cases that date to 2003. The judges will hear 220 civil cases prior to adjudicating 60 criminal cases. There are over 400 criminal cases pending. The 60 criminal cases being heard are plea bargains as the defendants already have served longer time in jail than their prospective sentences. The process will be speeded up once the justices have permanent accommodations in Gulu. District officials have completed work on plans for the recruitment and deployment of police officers. In Gulu and Amuru Districts, the GOU plans on deploying 30 police officers per sub-county.
October 14-27, 2006
UN agencies report that the security situation in northern Uganda remains calm, but several attacks--some by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and others which are still under investigation--in southern Sudan have made military escorts on main roads between northern Uganda and Juba mandatory.
Several deadly attacks occurred between October 7 and October 19 in southern Sudan. On October 7, an LRA group led by Ongwen attempted to commandeer a canoe to cross the Nile River north of Juba at Mongalla. The local villagers fought back and four LRA members were killed and injured. On October 16, three LRA members were injured in a skirmish with cattle herders during an attempted looting at Biliniang.
On October 18, ambushes on main roads outside Juba resulted in 41 deaths. The circumstances of the ambushes were disputed. The LRA has denied involvement in the attacks. UN Security personnel suspect the former Equatoria Defense Forces in the attacks. SPLA officials and the head of the CHMT believe LRA were involved and continue to investigate. The SPLA reportedly have taken into custody 15 individuals wearing Sudan Armed Forces uniforms.
October 1-15, 2006
On October 3, the Ugandan People's Defense Forces (UPDF) announced the resumption of normal operations and the closing of the safe passage routes for the LRA in northern Uganda. The UPDF also stated that it would continue its deployment along the Nile River. Press reports indicate significant UPDF deployments along the border with Congo in West Nile.
Congolese rebels said that Ugandan rebel groups may be merging in the Ituri area near Rusu, Katanga, some 80 kilometers from the border. Ugandan resident district commissioners in Arua and Nebbi held talks with their Congolese counterparts from Aru and Mahagi from October 6-7. Congolese and Ugandan defense chiefs held talks in Kampala on October 10.
There is increasing criminal activity in Gulu and Pader Districts. There have been a number of announcements that additional police officers would be deployed to the north. However, there have been no noticeable police deployments. A key problem is that the police in the north lack resources, including vehicles, fuel, police stations, and accommodations. Meanwhile, undisciplined Local Defense Units that operate in many areas are responsible for a significant number of human rights abuses, according to local human rights groups.
USAID's Deputy Assistant Administrator for Democracy and Governance Paul Bonicelli visited Gulu from September 30 to October 2. He participated in roundtable discussions with elected local government and religious leaders, a wide range of civil society and human rights groups, and members of various U.N. agencies providing relief, human rights, and development assistance in northern Uganda. Interlocutors stressed that the security and human rights situation had improved markedly over the past six months and expressed their hope that a peace deal could be reached. They also told Bonicelli that traditional accountability practices were appropriate and that calls for international justice could scuttle the peace process. They also said that additional resources would be needed for reconciliation and reconstruction programs to succeed at the local level.
September 16-30, 2006
The cessation of hostilities continues to hold. Thirty-eight of fifty-two camps in Gulu District no longer require military escorts. The OFDA program officer based in Gulu reports that curfews are being relaxed in many camps and IDPs are venturing past military security perimeters.
The lack of civilian law enforcement institutions, such as a High Court, is a growing security and a human rights problem. The lack of a High Court means that many accused plead guilty to be sentenced because the time spent awaiting trial, due to a lack of judges and magistrates, is longer than the sentences for the crime.
September 1-15, 2006
The cessation of hostilities has been respected with only minor incidents reported. The LRA members moving to the assembly points have been friendly in encounters with local residents, who supply them with food and medicines as they move through the area. Military escorts are no longer needed for eight of twenty-five internally-displaced persons camps in Kitgum District.
USG Activities: A civil affairs team from the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa will support the Mission's humanitarian assistance objectives, including targeted programs to improve human capacity and health, peace, security, and regional stability. The immediate priorities will be providing water and health facilities to facilitate IDP resettlement in Kitgum.
August 19-31, 2006
An improved security environment over the past six months is easing humanitarian access to IDP camps, although the situation from week to week remains fluid. Ninety out of 200 camps in Acholiland and Lira can now be reached without military escort, according to UNOCHA, up from 18 in April 2006. However, UN security reports a significant increase over the past two weeks in LRA activity throughout Acholiland, possibly for re-supply before a cessation of hostilities. LRA actions are directed in large part towards the theft of medical supplies and food. No incidents have been reported involving international personnel.
In Pader, movement restrictions on civilians are still in effect, although they have been scaled down slightly for some locations. On August 22, small LRA units attacked and burned an ambulance near Acuru, although the vehicle occupants were unharmed, leading UN security to increase temporarily the number of camps needing escorts. LRA have been spotted near Amuru, Padibe, Mucwini, Akwong, Amida, and Paraborgo over the past month.
USG Activities: U.S. military units, including the Marine Corps Reserve's 6th Engineering Support Battalion, Air National Guard medical personnel, and Army infantry soldiers from Ft. Riley, Kansas, completed a 10-day joint humanitarian assistance exercise with the Ugandan military in Soroti. The exercise included the provision of medical treatment for 5,000 area residents and the renovation of a health care center. Rear Admiral Richard Hunt, Commander of U.S. Combined Joint Task Force, the Horn of Africa, and Ambassador Browning visited Soroti on August 23. The training and visit received significant press coverage.
August 1-18, 2006
The security situation in northern Uganda continues to improve. The UN reported that incidences of killing of civilians by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) dropped from 88 to one between January and June 2006. Recent LRA operations have been carried out by small bands of rebels foraging for food against low risk targets. Recent abductions are temporary in nature, with the abductees released after transporting looted items.
A number of LRA commanders have been captured or killed over the past six months. Raska Lukwiya, one of the five leaders of the LRA indicted by the International Criminal Court, was killed on August 12 during a clash with Ugandan military forces. Lukwiya and nine other LRA soldiers were tracked after they ambushed and killed a motorbike driver and Ugandan soldier on August 10 near Mucwini.
The report notes that civil crime is rising in areas, such as Lira, where criminals are exploiting the lack of a police presence. The Government hopes to deploy 800 new police officers. Special police constables are in Lango, Teso, and Acholiland.
Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) partners report that UPDF escorts are no longer needed in many parts of northern Uganda.