Sunday, June 8, 2008

Assault on LRA rebels will be a disaster

The move by regional forces to strike Uganda’s Lords Resistance Army rebels in a bid to bring an end to the 22 year old northern insurgency may boomerang and could even worsen instability in a swathe of central Africa.
It is noteworthy that the prospects of a recourse to war have increased since the failure of talks to end two decades of conflict in April 2008, when guerrilla boss Joseph Kony left mediators waiting for days in a damp forest clearing in Nabanga and then failed to turn up.

The announcement last week by Paddy Ankunda and a re-affirmation by his boss President Kaguta Museveni that jointly with the DRC and GoSS, they would attack LRA left me dismayed. It should be too early to forget that the military option is also an uphill task, not just because the location of the LRA commanders remains unknown but there is no accurate knowledge of Kony’s strength, his preparedness and even the preparedness of the armies that want to go after him.

Northern Uganda currently has very insignificant numbers of UPDF as most of them have been moved to the Karamoja region and incase the LRA bounced back, they would sweep the returning population back to the camps and a new emergency would erupt.
Stories of the LRA over-running an SPLA outpost in Nabanga are still fresh and that is a sign that these rebels are up to the task: WAR
Certainly what the GoU failed to achieve in 20 years, I doubt if they can achieve it this time round.

The geo-political dynamics in Sudan pose a threat of the Khartoum establishment easily using the LRA to destabilize the GoSS. This should not be overlooked. Currently Uganda is not the country suffering the most direct impact of a war in its north that killed tens of thousands of people there and uprooted 2 million.The rebels have shifted beyond the country’s borders to one of the world’s most inaccessible areas, from where they have become another destabilising factor in a string of conflicts over a chunk of the continent rich in oil and minerals.For years the rebels operated from the Imatong Hills in southern Sudan, before moving into the forests of eastern Congo in 2005. They are dreaded by locals in both nations, emerging from their own long civil wars.
Recent LRA raids have added to fears for the stability of oil-producing south Sudan, where a 2005 peace deal with the northern government has looked increasingly shaky since north-south clashes last month over the Abyei region.This year, Kony’s fighters also attacked Central African Republic, edging closer to the Darfur theatre of conflict entangling the northern Sudanese army, Darfur rebels, Chad and guerrillas battling to topple the Chadian government.’OPTIONS NARROWING’
Hardened LRA fighters could certainly affect the balance of forces in other conflicts.
An offensive would likely fail, could result in heavy military casualties and would expose Congolese civilians in areas dominated by the rebels to retaliatory attacks.The last attempt to tackle the rebels in Congo ended in disaster in January 2006 when eight Guatemalan commandos were killed in a botched raid and gun battle with Kony’s forces.
As such war does not at all hold the key to peace in northern Uganda

No comments:

Web Page Hit Counter
Lwani Forever