In October, 2011, the Obama administration said it would send 100 US military advisers to central Africa to help the region’s armies combat the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a vicious Ugandan rebel group. Human Rights Watch has pressed the US government to help bring the LRA’s murderous leadership to justice, even appealing directly to President Barack Obama.
Support from US special forces could be critical in strengthening regional efforts to arrest the LRA’s ruthless leader, Joseph Kony, and other top leaders – all wanted by the International Criminal Court. The LRA is small, with an estimated 150 to 300 combatants plus at least several hundred abductees, many of them children. But the armies fighting the LRA lack the capabilities and expert intelligence to apprehend Kony and protect civilians from LRA attacks.
The LRA has been attacking civilians in the remote border region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic. Over two decades, it has killed and abducted thousands of people, often targeting children and forcing them to become fighters.
Human Rights Watch has extensively documented the LRA’s atrocities, uncovering unreported massacres in remote regions and interviewing many victims. We’ve taken our findings to government leaders, pushing for action, and even created a short video postcard bringing the voices and appeals of victims directly to the Obama administration.
Arresting Kony and other senior LRA leaders would reaffirm that those who commit mass atrocities will face justice. It will also help end the scourge of one of the most brutal rebel groups in Africa.