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Without Sudan, it will be impossible to successfully confront the LRA

Sudan has not been included in meetings to discuss ways to fight back against the Lord's Resistance Army. This is a missed opportunity, says Ledio Cakaj, a guest blogger from the Enough Project.

By Ledio CakajGuest blogger / October 27, 2010

Villagers who have formed a local self defense force move during a training session in the village of Bangadi in northeastern Congo February 18, 2009. In the face of attacks and massacres by Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, who have slaughtered some 900 Congolese civilians since December, villagers in Bangadi have formed a self-defense force with locally made weapons and have twice repelled LRA attacks in recent months.

Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters

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Meeting in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, CAR President Francois Bozize and representatives from Uganda, Congo, and South Sudan worked to find a regional solution to the Lord’s Resistance Army. The meeting took place on October 13 and 14 under the auspices of the African Union.

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The participants agreed to a series of anti-LRA measures designed to increase military cooperation between the armies of Uganda, South Sudan, Congo, and CAR, according to press release issued by the African Union (Here it is in French). A joint command center aimed at exchanging information, joint border patrols, and a mixed military brigade to go after LRA groups are some examples of the military cooperation agreed to in Bangui. In addition to calling for humanitarian aid to LRA-affected areas, participants proposed nominating an AU special envoy to coordinate efforts against the LRA.

While the initiative from the AU is laudable, it comes fairly late. The LRA issue has been discussed in many AU meetings, including the Special Session on the Consideration and Resolution in Africa held in Tripoli, Libya in August 2009 at the invitation of ‘Brother Leader’ Muammar Gaddafi, and at the Ordinary Session held in Kampala in July 2010. Nothing concrete came out of these meetings, while the LRA has continued to attack civilians in the region.

Despite a few useful recommendations and some optimistic-sounding headlines in the press, the Bangui meeting risks amounting to little if recommendations are not quickly implemented on the ground. Given the state of the regional armies involved in the fight against the LRA, it is hard to imagine that the military options proposed in the AU meeting, involving these same armies, can actually succeed.

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