October 31, 2013 (JUBA) – The African Union special envoy for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the United Nations special representative of the Secretary General undertake a joint assessment mission to South Sudan and the Central Africa Republic (CAR), as part of their efforts to fight against the insurgency.
- LRA leader Joseph Kony and his fighters (Getty)
Abou Moussa, the special representative of the UN Secretary-General and the AU’s Francisco Madeira arrived in South Sudan on Friday, having visited Bangui, the CAR capital on 31 October.
The duo, a UN statement said, will hold consultations on transition with the authorities, members of the diplomatic corps, the AU officials, non-governmental and humanitarian organisations, UN agencies as well as development partners.
"This first step will allow them to collect and analyse information on the activities of the LRA, including the state of defections within the rebel movement considered by the AU as a terrorist group", partly read the statement.
The visit was triggered by reports alleging that over 1,000 LRA members defected in Nzako, a mining town southeast of CAR.
"The UN and the AU delegation will also encourage the government to continue to have a watchful eye on the armed group that plagues the lives of people", further said the statement.
The joint mission also intends to underline the importance of coordination within the African-led international support mission in the CAR and the regional task force created to eliminate the LRA rebel.
The LRA, which has survived since 1987 by kidnapping and forcing children to become child soldiers, is accused of fight conducting serious human rights violations against civilians in the areas in Uganda, South Sudan, the DRC and Central African Republic (CAR).
Currently, there are 3,000 soldiers from South Sudan, the DRC, Uganda and the CAR, deployed as part of the AU-UN backed regional task force.
“The United Nations remain deeply concerned about the insecurity in the region and the situation of 420,000 refugees and displaced forced to leave their regions to escape from the barbarians and mortal LRA attacks,” Moussa said, while calling on the international community to increase its logistical and humanitarian assistance to the countries affected by the LRA.
Meanwhile, the outcomes of the joint mission will be included in a report to the Secretary General on the activities of the UN in Central Africa and the LRA-affected areas, to be presented to the Security Council on 20 November of this year.