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Killings of civilians by the notorious militia led by the fugitive

Joseph Kony have dropped dramatically in the last three years,
according to a new analysis that tracks reports on the group.
The Lord’s Resistance Army has terrorized central Africa for years,
eluding international efforts to halt its brutal campaign of
mutilations, abductions and slayings. Kony himself is wanted for a
long list of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including
murder and forcing children to fight.
Though Kony has continued to evade capture, his militia is leaving
fewer deaths in its path, according to a new analysis. The LRA
killed 51 civilians last year – a steep drop from the 154 people slain
the year earlier and 706 killed in 2010, a joint tracking project by
the U.S.-based nonprofits Invisible Children and Resolve found.
The sudden decline appears to have happened because Kony
ordered his fighters to minimize killings, the report said, citing
militia defectors. Slayings of civilians fell dramatically after Kony
and his commanders gathered in the Central African Republic
more than a year ago, it found.
The militia, infamous for abducting children to use as soldiers, also
appears to be shifting toward kidnapping adults for shorter stints,
during which they are forced to act as porters, carrying looted
goods, the report found. More than two out of three people
abducted last year were adults, more than half of whom escaped or
were released within a month.
The report warned, however, that the reduced deaths and reported
defections do not mean the LRA is no longer capable of mass
killings. The LRA waged “unusually large and brazen attacks” in
stretches of the Central African Republic that are beyond the reach
of Ugandan troops and U.S. military advisors trying to stop the
group, it said.
Thirteen men were massacred in one such attack near the
Ngunguinza gold mine, most of them beaten to death with big
pieces of wood, in what Human Rights Watch believes was an LRA
assault. Hundreds of attacks were also reported in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo last year.
The report also sheds light on how the group has continued to
operate. Kony has held onto control of the widely scattered group
through radios and satellite phones, the report found, and has
reportedly promoted younger commanders more loyal to him to
cement his control.
Defectors and escapees claim the militia profits from the illegal
ivory trade, bolstering its spoils from looting villages and farms,
and allege it has been aided by the Sudanese military. In
December, the U.N. Security Council called for an investigation
into how the LRA was being supplied and financed.
More than 1,100 civilians have been killed by the LRA over the course of
roughly three years, according to Invisible Children and Resolve; the
U.N. has estimated more than 400,000 people have been displaced
across the region as they try to flee the deadly militia.


Key Statistics

We have compiled some key statistics on the influence of LRA violence
on the populations of DR Congo, South Sudan, the Central African
Republic (CAR), and Uganda in order to help us keep in mind the scale
of the crisis, and to be familiar with the most current facts and details on
the crisis.
Deaths
TOTAL: More than 2,400 killed by the LRA in DR Congo, CAR, and
South Sudan since 2008, as of December 2011 [10] DR Congo:
Over 1,900 killed between September 2008 and December 2010
[1] South Sudan: 216 killed between December 2008 and November
2009 [2] Central African Republic: 175 killed between February 2008
and November 2010 [3] Uganda: about 100,000 killed between 1986
and 2007 [5]
Abductions
TOTAL: More than 3,400 abducted by the LRA in DR Congo, CAR, and
South Sudan since 2008, including over 1,500 children as of March
2011 [10, 11] DR Congo: 2,615 people abducted, including 886
children, as of December 2010 [4] South Sudan: 149 abducted
between December 2008 and November 2009 [2] Central African
Republic: 352 abducted, including many children, as of November 2010
[6] Uganda: 66,000 people/youth between the ages of 14 and 30 from
the mid-1990s to 2006 [7] 30,000 children (under 18) abducted
from 1988 to 2004 [8]
Internally Displaced People
TOTAL: 438,504 LRA-induced displacements in DR Congo, CAR, and
South Sudan as of December 2011 [9] DR Congo: 347,360 IDPs in
LRA-affected areas of DRC as of December 2011 [9] South Sudan:
70,000 estimated number of people displaced due to LRA violence as of
December 2011 [9] Central African Republic: 21,144 displaced in
southeast Central African Republic as of December 2011 [9] Uganda:
approximately 1,700,000 internally displaced from 1986 to 2007 [5]
Refugees
TOTAL: 28,390 total number of refugees due to LRA violence in DR Congo,
CAR, and South Sudan, as of December 2011 [9] DR Congo: 5,800
approximate number of refugees as of December 2011, largely from Central
African Republic [9] South Sudan: 17,231 refugees as of December 2011,
mainly Congolese [9] Central African Republic: 5,359 refugees in southeast
Central African Republic as of December 2011, mainly Congolese [9]

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, recently released
their third quarter
report on LRA activity in central Africa. The report, which identifies LRA activity in the region from
July to September
2012, describes a slight decrease in LRA attacks, down to 52 in comparison with 75 in quarter two and
53 in quarter one.
Forty-three of these attacks occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and an additional nine in
the Central African
Republic, primarily in remote border areas. Thirty-nine deaths have been attributed to LRA attacks
since January, and 66
abductions have been reported since July.
The number of people displaced by LRA violence has marginally decreased but remains high at
443,000, most of which are
internally displaced. The majority of people displaced by LRA violence are in Congo, with 347,000
concentrated in Haut and
Bas Uélé districts, which border the Central African Republic and South Sudan.
The humanitarian situation in internal displacement camps remains severe, as insecurity and poor
transportation infrastructure
in the most affected areas makes humanitarian aid difficult to deliver. Without access to humanitarian
aid, many of these
refugees and internally displaced persons are without adequate food, shelter, health care, water, or
sanitation services.
These updated stats serve to illustrate the ongoing grave impact of the LRA in central Africa, in spite
of their relatively small
numbers and the fact that soldiers from several countries—including American military advisors—are
pursuing them. As
Enough Project researcher Kasper Agger recently highlighted with his field dispatch based on an
embed with the Ugandan
army, major logistical and intelligence challenges are preventing real progress toward ending the LRA
conflict. If the current
efforts are to succeed, enhanced human and aerial intelligence, increase helicopter support, improved
road infrastructure, and
better access to LRA-affected areas for the troops involved are urgently needed.