Col Olum to head hunt for Kony
African Union and senior United Nations officials have formally introduced Uganda’s Colonel Dick Prit Olum, the Chief of the Regional Intervention Force authorised by the AU to track down the LRA leader, Joseph Kony, and his men.
The Special Envoy of the African Union for the LRA issue, Francisco Madeira told the victims of the fugitive Kony that Col. Olum was “appointed to contribute with all his experience and military expertise to neutralise all the criminals who threaten your life.”
The meetings with the victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Dungu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), were meant to reassure them of the campaign to put an end to the atrocities perpetrated by the armed group. “I encourage you to bring him all the necessary support for the success of his mission,” Madeira said.
According to a statement from the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), Madeira met with representatives of 168 displaced families in Dungu, who told them about their “unbearable living conditions,” including lack of drinking water and difficulties sending their children to school.
The victims also met with UN agencies and non-governmental organisations in the region to examine how to strengthen cooperation and coordination between the AU forces that will soon be deployed in Dungu, and the Congolese and UN forces already on the ground.
After Dungu, the Madeira and the UN Special Representative for Central Africa, Abou Moussa, met survivors gathered in Linakoyo, near a base of the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). They then went to Obo, in the southeast of the Central African Republic (CAR), where they met with the CAR and Ugandan soldiers who are currently participating in anti-LRA operations, with the support of a military unit from United States.
They also visited the headquarters of the Regional Intervention Force, located in South Sudan. Established in November 2011 by the African Union Peace and Security Council, this Force is part of renewed efforts against the LRA.
“Our greatest wish is that you return home and that you continue to go about your normal activities. We will all continue to work to achieve this objective,” said Moussa.
“We are aware of all your problems,” he added, “and we will increase awareness among different stakeholders to find a lasting solution for you.”
Formed in the 1980s in Uganda, the LRA mainly directed its attacks against Ugandan civilians and security forces for over 15 years. It then exported its activities to Uganda’s neighbouring countries, with practices that include the recruitment of children, rapes, killing and maiming, and sexual slavery. Since the beginning of this year, more than 4,200 people have been displaced as a result of LRA activity in DRC’s Orientale Province, where Dungu is located.