Lord’s Resistance Army attack villages nr Yambio, S. Sudan
LRA strike again while Southern parliament speaker visits Yambio
May 6, 2009 (LONDON) – Guerrillas of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) struck villages just 15 miles from Yambio town during the two day visit of the Speaker of South Sudan Legislature Assembly and Deputy Chairman of SPLM, James Wani Igga, who arrived Monday before returning today to Juba.
Hon. Wani Igga was quoted by the Western Equatoria state (WES) Ministry of Communications as saying that “the insecurity of WES is deplorable and condemnable.” He reportedly also described the insecurity in WES as perpetuated by irresponsible individuals.
The LRA are reported by WES defence groups and confirmed by WES officials as attacking a village called Bureangburu where the LRA abducted a man and his wife, said Charles Kisanga, a leader of the region’s Azande community living in the United Kingdom.
Formation of defence groups, sometimes referred to as “arrow boys” for their primitive outfitting, has been encouraged by the state governor in recent months.
“A chase was given by self-defence arrow boys and girls who caught up with the LRA and thereby clashing with them and one LRA terrorist was killed. The dead LRA was soon torn to pieces by an angry mob but the arrow boys managed to bring the torn hand of the dead LRA rebel to Yambio town for authorities to see and hopefully maybe let Hon. Wani Igga also to get a glimpse of it to see for himself the brutality of the LRA war in Western Equatoria,” said Kisanga.
LRA also struck at a place called Nasoro, near Gangura and looted food and abducted an unknown number people. Two days ago another attack was reported in Sakure where two boys aged 12 and 15 years were abducted by the LRA.
Continued LRA attacks and looting have emptied the villages of Bureangburu, Nasoro and Bakiwiri, from which residents fled to Yambio seeking protection. According to Kisanga, the displacement puts strain on all those who had relatives in the villages. Bureangburu is not far from Bakiwiri with only river Yubu separating the villages.
“Most people in Yambio have households with members swelling to over 20 to 50 and some reaching a hundred as relatives seek refuge from LRA,” described Kisanga.
Leaders of the state government of WES largely ignored a regional disarmament campaign last year, preferring that the populace remain armed against the LRA fighters who have crossed over from northeast Democratic Republic of Congo. However, unlike other parts of southern Sudan, WES never developed large-scale militias during the 22-year civil war that began in 1983.
LRA, which is one of the oldest guerrilla groups in east Africa, replenishes its ranks through abduction and indoctrination. Though they have been hunted by the armies of DR Congo, Uganda, and Guatemalan special forces serving with the UN, the LRA forces survive through looting, jungle skills and external patronage.
Kisanga, head the new SPLM Patriotic Organisation for change, recommended that the current government of the semi-autonomous region of Southern Sudan be dismissed to be replaced with “a caretaker government mostly made of some SPLA military officers and technocrats” who would use maximum force to protect the south ahead of elections.