Uganda Warns Against Exaggerating LRA Threat

Posted March 12th, 2012 at 6:50 am (UTC-5)
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Uganda says it welcomes the online campaign against the rebel Lord's Resistance Army but warns against exaggerating the LRA threat.

In a statement published by a state-owned newspaper (New Vision), the government approved of campaigns to raise awareness of the LRA and the plight of the rebel group's victims.

But it said any campaign must take “current realities” of the LRA situation into account.

Last week, the advocacy group Invisible Children used Twitter to draw attention to a film about the LRA and its leader, Joseph Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court. The film has been viewed more than 70 million times on YouTube.

However, the film's producers have been criticized for distorting and oversimplifying facts.

The government Monday noted that the LRA is no longer active in Uganda, and said the rebels are “diminished and weakened,” with fewer than 300 fighters.

The group has continued to attack villages in Congo and the Central African Republic but Uganda says the threat posed by the LRA in those countries is “considerably reduced.”

The LRA battled government forces in northern Uganda for more than 15 years before leaving the country in 2006. The group is notorious for kidnapping children to use as soldiers and sex slaves, and is accused of killing or mutilating tens of thousands of people.

Kony and three other LRA leaders are wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Last year, U.S. President Barack Obama sent 100 military personnel to central Africa to help Ugandan forces track down the remaining bands of LRA fighters.