SPLA soldiers to boost hunt for LRA rebels

19 Sep 2012

SPLA soldiers to boost hunt for LRA rebels

18 September 2012 - To assist in hunting down Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, some 2,500 soldiers from the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) today joined the African Union (AU) Regional Task Force.

Abou Moussa, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), welcomed 500 soldiers from the SPLA and 2,000 soldiers from the UPDF in Yambio, Western Equatoria State.

"This important moment is the culmination of our collective efforts to put an end to the activities of the LRA that has become infamous over the years for the untold sufferings wrought upon the local populations of the affected countries," said Mr. Moussa, whose office coordinates UN efforts to address the LRA threat.

Also present at the hand-over ceremony were AU Special Envoy for the LRA issue Francisco Madeira, UNMISS Force Commander Maj. Gen. Moses Obi, and representatives of troop contributing countries' defence ministries.

As part of their efforts to counter the LRA threat, the four affected countries (Uganda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic) launched a joint military task force in March to pursue the rebels.

Mr. Moussa said the UN would continue to support the AU and other partners in implementing a regional strategy against the LRA, adopted by the UN Security Council in June 2012.

Among other key objectives, the strategy focuses on supporting full operationalization and implementation of the regional cooperation initiative against the LRA.

UNMISS supports the South Sudanese government by conducting regular integrated military patrols in LRA-affected areas to deter threats, maintain situation awareness, build confidence, ease freedom of movement, secure access to areas and contribute to the protection of civilians.