Lord’s Resistance Army and the Central African region
The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/67/845–S/2013/245) issued on 15 May 2013.
The United Nations continued to receive reports on grave violations against children by LRA in the Central African region throughout 2012. Whereas 22 incidents were reported in the Central African Republic and 71 incidents in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, no incidents were reported in South Sudan in 2012. Even though no incidents have been reported in Uganda since 2006, Ugandan troops continued to pursue LRA. These cases are, however, merely indicative of the actual scope of grave violations against children, given that insecurity and poor infrastructure continued to hamper the reporting of violations. With 416,000 internally displaced persons and 26,000 refugees triggered by LRA, the armed group remained a serious threat to civilians in the region.
In the Central African Republic, 23 children were reportedly recruited by LRA in the south-east of the country. During an LRA attack at a mining site in the town of Nzako, Haute-Kotto prefecture, at least six people were killed, including several children. Owing to limited access, however, the exact number of child victims could not be verified.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 58 children (23 girls and 35 boys between 2 and 17 years of age) were abducted by LRA in 2012. In contrast to previous years, they were used mainly as porters to carry looted goods, rather than to participate in attacks. Children continued to be victims of LRA attacks, however. In two separate LRA attacks, a girl and a boy were killed and a girl and three boys injured in Haut Uélé prefecture between January and May 2012. A case in which a girl was raped by LRA was documented in May 2012, while two other girls who escaped from the group in 2012 reported having been raped while in captivity. In total, 41 children (19 girls and 22 boys) escaped or were released from LRA during the reporting period. Between January and October 2012, LRA also attacked two health centres and three schools.
In South Sudan, no attacks on or grave violations against children by LRA were reported in 2012. LRA remained a threat to civilians, however, operating from bases inside the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic. Between January and December 2012, family tracing and reunification efforts were undertaken for 48 children (34 girls and 14 boys) who were rescued from LRA.
Uganda continued to play a major role in combating LRA with the participation of 2,000 troops in the Regional Task Force set up by the African Union for that purpose. To implement its standard operating procedures on the repatriation and handover of children separated from LRA, as agreed with the United Nations in June 2011, the army received implementation training in Uganda in May and June 2012. The armed forces of the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan have yet to adopt standard operating procedures for the handover of children who escape from LRA.