Members of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) have moved into the Central African Republic (CAR). LRA fighters attacked a CAR security patrol near the "tri-border" area (Congo, Sudan, and CAR). At least two CAR soldiers died in the attack. The Ugandan government now believes that LRA senior commander Joseph Kony has slipped out of Cong and avoided a trap laid by Congolese and Ugandan forces in the Congo's Garamaba National Park.
February 26, 2009: The LRA's bloody reprisals against Congolese civilians and the brutal retreat of LRA units towards the CAR (attacking and looting villages in the process) has been a political disaster for the LRA. Previously, the LRA had been able to rely on sympathetic northern Ugandan tribes (particularly the Acholi) for political support. Northern Ugandans fear political domination by southern Uganda. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is viewed by many as an autocrat (which he is) but poll the Acholi and they see him as a dictator. That noted, sympathies for the LRA are fading, and LRA Joseph Kony in particular. So what will end this LRA's latest campaign of violence and looting? Likely the arrest of Kony. The International Criminal Court (ICC) warrants for his arrest (for war crimes) remains active.
February 22, 2009: Despite assertions by the Congolese government that Ugandan forces will begin withdrawing from the Congo by the end of February, it appears some residual Ugandan force will remain in the Congo. Officially, Uganda is looking at a February 28 withdrawal date. However, the LRA may have killed 900 to 1000 Congolese civilians since mid-December 2008 when the joint anti-LRA operation began. The Congolese civilians are complaining to the UN, to the Congolese government, and to the press. A quick Ugandan withdrawal would leave the Congolese in northeastern Congo vulnerable.
February 16, 2009: The Congo government extended the mandate allowing Ugandan forces to operate inside the Congo against LRA rebels.
February 15, 2009: Two senior LRA leaders, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen are reportedly discussing surrender terms with negotiators in south Sudan. Both men are wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Their alleged crimes include rape, murder, and forcing children to fight as soldiers. The government believes that more senior LRA leaders may quit the organization -- a pay-off of the attack on LRA bases inside Congo.