By Julius Odeke
The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (Bureau of African Affairs), Mr Jonnie Carson, has warned stakeholders involved in global initiatives to end the atrocities attributed to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels that no single silver bullet can on its own solve the LRA problem.
According to The Uganda Correspondent, Mr Carson sounded the warning in Washington DC recently while at a ‘Global Summit on the Lord’s Resistance Army’ that was organised by the U.S-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) Invisible Children which was behind the controversial Kony2012 video.
“When it comes to the LRA, it is tempting to talk about a silver bullet or a ready-made solution. However, history has taught us that it is not that simple or straightforward. Anyone who has spent time in the remote areas where the LRA operates or studied the LRA over the years can testify to that.” Mr Carson warned.
It is that basic appreciation, Carson added, that has informed the U.S decision to pursue what he called “a comprehensive approach, supporting both military and civilian efforts.”
He said over the past year, the United States has deployed military advisors and increased its logistical support to regional military operations while deploying civilian officers and expanding programs to promote defections from the LRA at the same time.
Mr Carson also told his listeners that while great distances and different worldviews often divide us, particular events in history often break down those barriers and connect us on a personal level – on a human level. “The Lord’s Resistance Army is one such phenomenon.” Carson said.
He also applauded the organisers and delegates at the conference, saying their presence “sends a strong signal” that people across the globe will not stand by and be silent as armed groups commit senseless atrocities and terrorize innocent communities. “The results may not always be direct or immediate, but know this – your voices make a difference.” Mr Carson said.
The LRA has been fighting to overthrow the Ugandan government for over twenty 26 years. However, following offensive military campaigns by regional governments, the LRA has been pushed out of East Africa and confined to the dense forests of Central African Republic (CAR).
In 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama also sent 100 American Special Forces to help coordinate the anti-LRA operations led by Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF).