This month Invisible Children and Resolve released the 2012 LRA Crisis
Tracker Mid-Year Security Brief, which analyzes trends and patterns in
LRA activity from January – June 2012. The full report can be
downloaded in English and French. Key findings are pasted below.
LRA Crisis Tracker Team
LRA violence escalated significantly compared to late 2011: Reported
attacks and abductions by the LRA doubled in the first six months of
2012 relative to the latter half of 2011. A vast majority of reported
LRA attacks occurred in northern Democratic Republic of Congo (155),
with concentrations west and south of Garamba National Park. LRA
attacks also increased significantly in southeast Central African
Republic, with as many reported attacks in the first half of 2012 (35)
as in all of 2011.
LRA abductions are increasing, but trends indicate they’re mostly
porters, not future child soldiers: LRA killings may be decreasing, but
reported LRA abductions increased by 127% from 137 in the latter half
of 2011 to 311 in the first half of 2012. However, several trends in
abductions from January –June 2012 indicate that the LRA is mostly
targeting people to carry looted goods, not to train as future
-47.6% of all reported abductees escaped or were released within 72
hours of being abducted, indicating the LRA is not able or
interested to train them to become fighters;
-Of abductions in which age and/or gender was recorded, 70.6% were
adults and 67.3% were males, indicating that LRA forces are
targeting adult males most capable of carrying heavy loads of looted
LRA attacks are getting less deadly: Though LRA attacks are up, they
are killing far fewer people than in previous years. Only 10% of
reported LRA attacks included a civilian death in the first half of
2012, compared with 30% in 2011 and 34.7% in 2010. Similarly, the LRA
reportedly killed an average of 0.2 people per attack in the first half
of 2012, compared with 0.52 in 2011 and 1.5 in 2010. LRA killings were
particularly rare in Congo, where they killed 12 people in 155 attacks,
averaging 0.08 deaths per attack.
The LRA could be trafficking in illegal ivory: The LRA has long been
known for avoiding trade in illegal minerals or goods. However, park
rangers working in Garamba National Park in northern Congo reportedly
found significant evidence of LRA forces trafficking in illegal ivory
from poached elephants in the first half of 2012. Park rangers
confiscated elephant tusks from suspected LRA forces in May, and an
escapee from an LRA group in Garamba witnessed LRA combatants with
tusks as well. Reports have also emerged of LRA poaching elephants for
tusks across the border in CAR.
LRA violence in CAR spiked following Ugandan military
operations: Ugandan military forces reportedly lost the trail of LRA
groups operating in southeast CAR for much of late 2011. However, in
early 2012, Ugandan troops operating there began placing more direct
pressure on LRA groups operating in the remote forested areas west of
Djemah, CAR. In the weeks following this pressure, LRA attacks on
communities surrounding this reserve increased significantly, with 25
reported attacks on civilians in March 2012 alone. Reported attacks on
civilians in CAR dropped from April – June, though Ugandan troops
continue to pursue LRA groups there.
Other armed groups may be taking advantage of insecurity caused by the
LRA: In addition to the 190 reported LRA attacks in the first half of
2012, the Crisis Tracker recorded 59 attacks by unknown perpetrators.
The perpetrators for these attacks could be LRA forces, rogue military
personnel, or bandits. Attacks by unknown armed groups were
concentrated in Congo’s Haut Uele district, where reports of bandits
committing copycat LRA attacks are highest.
Caesar Achellam taken into custody, sparks further defections: On May
12, Ugandan soldiers took Caesar Achellam, one of the most senior
remaining LRA officers, into custody along the border between Congo
and CAR after pursuing his group for several weeks. At least eight more
LRA members defected as a result of Achellam’s capture over the next
six weeks. This included Achellam’s bodyguard, who escaped on June 26
with five other LRA officers after being blamed for allowing Achellam
to escape. Overall, 149 people either escaped or defected from the LRA
from January – June 2012.
To find out more about the methodology used to vet, verify, and
categorize incidents that are recorded in the LRA Crisis Tracker, see
page 12 of the 2012 Mid-Year Security Brief, or read the LRA Crisis
Tracker MapMethodology and Database Codebook v1.3.
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