The war the Lord's Resistance Army is waging against the civilian population of North-Eastern Congo, Northern Uganda and parts of South Sudan and the Central African Republic has never really received any media interest. But now that U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered the deployment of about 100 soldiers to the region as force enablers, it is finally getting some attention. I've actually written about the conflict before on this blog, when reviewing The Lord's Resistance Army. Myth and Reality. But I recently also had the pleasure of moderating an expert group meeting with the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Roger A. Meece. And what emerged from the meeting is that the LRA is having a disproportionate impact on the security situation in the Kivu provinces of the DRC. The LRA is responsible for the death of some troops belonging to the United Nations Mission in the DRC, even though the LRA probably does not field more than 200 core fighters and its leader Joseph Kony is probably somewhere in the Central African Republic. Putting an end to the nihilistic insurrection is hardly controversial.
One should, however, expect that a mission tailored to take out its leader would trigger some sort of debate on targeted killings. That it does not is probably due to the consensus that has emerged over the past decade that the only way to put an end to the LRA is the killing of its commander Joseph Kony. It is a consensus, one might add, that even humanitarian relief organisations, non-governmental organisations and high-ranking United Nations officials share. I warmly welcome Obama's decision to commit his administration to this mission. It ends three year's of neglect toward the Sub-Saharan African region.