20 civil society groups in northern Congo, Central African Republic, and South Sudan write to President Salva Kiir Mayardit, calling his attention to the ongoing atrocities committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in south-western South Sudan, as well as the bordering regions in neighboring countries.
This is not a letter from Human Rights Watch, but we believe it is particularly powerful.
Dear President Salva Kiir Mayardit,
We, the civil society representatives of Haut and Bas Uele districts in northern Democratic Republic of Congo, Western Equatoria State in South Sudan, and Mbomou and Haut Mbomou prefectures of the Central African Republic, write to call your attention to the ongoing atrocities committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in south-western South Sudan, as well as the bordering regions in neighboring countries.
We first would like to thank you for your excellent leadership over a turbulent period in the history of the Republic of South Sudan, starting from conducting a successful census in 2008, elections in April 2010, a referendum on 9th January, 2011, and independence on 9th July, 2011, as well as working to defuse the rampant tensions in Abyei, Jonglei, Unity and Warrap states.
In South Sudan, the LRA has killed at least 500 people, abducted 1,500 others, and wounded over 700. Over 25,000 people have been displaced from their homes, mostly in the areas of Ezo, Source-Yubu, Tombura, Nagero, Nzara, Yambio, Ibba, Maridi and Mundri West counties in Western Equatoria State.
We hope that this suffering will soon come to an end. We ask the South Sudanese government for a comprehensive approach and strategy on the LRA, which involves meaningful collaboration with regional and international partners.
We welcomed the announcement by the United States government to send 100 well-equipped military advisors to counter the Lord’s Resistant Army (LRA) menace and help protect civilians, and we hope you will work with them to ensure a more effective response to the LRA problem.
We are very happy with your public statements that South Sudan will never go back to war again. Please help make this a reality by collaborating with neighboring governments to bring an end to the LRA menace.
As a matter of fact, it is true that when one part of the body is suffering, the whole body feels pain. Since signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that brought about a permanent ceasefire and relative peace and stability in other parts of the country, the people of Western Equatoria State have never enjoyed complete peace because of the Ugandan rebel group which has terrorized, killed and massacred, and still continues to abduct people, especially children. They have turned boys into fighters and girls into sex slaves, destroyed villages and confined people to camps living under fear of terror.
Your Excellency, these are just the cries from innocent suffering communities who would like to bring to your attention the plight of the people of Western Equatoria in your country, as well as those from our brothers and sisters in neighboring Congo and the Central African Republic, who feel they have been forgotten. The following are the key issues we hope your leadership will address:
- Work together with United States of America (USA) troops deployed in the region to bring peace and stability in Western Equatoria and Western Bahr el Ghazel States.
- Offer timely and adequate logistical support and additional military equipment to the SPLA forces to improve their capacity to deal with the LRA insurgency in the region.
- Take a lead in civilian protection and advanced relief preparedness through humanitarian NGOs for IDPs and ex-combatants.
- Encourage fruitful communication between the SPLA forces and the local population, the Arrow Boys, and with the national armies of DR Congo and the Central African Republic in theirLRA-affected areas.
We are encouraged that with these steps, amongst other important initiatives, the government of the Republic of South Sudan can help put an end to the LRA threat for its citizens, as well as for the populations in the border regions of neighboring countries.
1. Association africaine de défense des droits de l’homme (ASADHO), Kinshasa, RDC
2. Association des victimes de la LRA, Obo, RCA
3. Association Zereda, Obo, RCA
4. Commission Diocésaine pour la Justice et la Paix (CDJP), Dungu, Haut Uélé, RDC
5. Commission Diocésaine pour la Justice et la Paix (CDJP), Duru, Haut Uélé, RDC
6. Commission Diocésaine pour la Justice et la Paix (CDJP), Ngilima, Haut Uélé, RDC
7. Commission Paroissiale pour la Justice et la Paix (CPJP), Bangadi, RDC
8. Communauté des Églises Évangéliques en Centrafrique (CEEC), Zemio, RCA
9. ECS Nzara Diocese, Yambio, South Sudan
10. Justice and Peace Commission, Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio, South Sudan
11. Société civile d’Ango (SOCIDA), Bas Uélé, RDC
12. Société civile de Doruma, Haut Uélé, RDC
13. Société civile de Faradje, Haut Uélé, RDC
14. Société civile de la Chefferie Mopoy (SOCICOMO), Banda, Bas Uélé, RDC
15. Société civile de Poko (SOCIPO), Bas Uélé, RDC
16. Solidarité et Assistance Intégrale aux Personnes Démunies (SAIPED), Dungu, RDC
17. Traumatisme blessure du Cœur, Zemio, RCA
18. Union des Jeunes de Doruma pour le Loisirs (UJDL), Doruma, Haut Uélé, RDC
19. Union of Journalists of South Sudan, Yambio, South Sudan
20. Unity Is Strength, Yambio, South Sudan