Cablegate: Uganda: Update On Impact of Lra On Civilian Populations
DE RUEHKM #0182/01 0211246
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211139Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0147
INFO RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
UNCLAS KAMPALA 000182
KHARTOUM PLS PASS JUBA
KINSHASA PLS PASS GOMA
GENEVA FOR RMA
ADDIS FOR REFCOORD
NDJAMENA FOR REFCOORD
NAIROBI FOR USAID
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PGOV PHUM PREL MOPS CG UG SU CT
SUBJECT: UGANDA: UPDATE ON IMPACT OF LRA ON CIVILIAN POPULATIONS
REF: STATE 118217
1. (U) Summary: This report provides recent statistics on the
impact of Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) activities on civilian
populations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Central
African Republic (CAR), and Sudan keyed to reftel questions.
These statistics are compiled from multiple sources and draw
heavily on information provided by the United Nations Office for
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), which
consolidates data from UN partner agencies (e.g., UNHCR, UNICEF,
and MONUC) and NGOs. That said, UNOCHA data sets overlap
geographically and chronologically, making it difficult to
ascertain cumulative numbers and current trends. However, over the
past two months, we have noted a significant downward trend in
LRA-related attacks and civilian displacements in the DRC and CAR
as the LRA moves further north. Except for unfounded fears of an
impending copy-cat LRA Christmas massacre, none of the data
provided in this cable goes beyond November 2009. End Summary.
2. How many LRA attacks have occurred during the reporting
(U) UNOHCA reports 317 LRA attacks in the DRC from January to
November 2009. UN agencies report a consistent reduction of LRA
attacks in DRC's Uele provinces. In September 2009, the number of
LRA-attack-related deaths (59) hit its highest peak since March
2009, but declined to 21 deaths in November. However, the
brutality of these attacks has not diminished; on November 25, LRA
rebels burned-alive ten members of a family in a house at Nakwa (12
km south of Bangadi in Haut-Uele).
(U) In Sudan, Western Equatoria State officials reported three
purported LRA attacks in Nzara County in November in which seven
people were killed and eight abducted.
3. How many deaths, casualties, rapes, and abductions due to
LRA attacks have been reported?
(U) According to UNOCHA, from December 2007 to November 2009, the
LRA killed 1,313 people and abducted 1,052 adults/649 children in
Haut-Uele. In Bas-Uele, the LRA killed 96 people and abducted 631
adults and 33 children. UNOCHA also reports that, since the
beginning of Operation Lightning Thunder (OLT) in December 2008,
1,229 civilians have been killed by the LRA, 1,515 adults/328
children kidnapped, and more than 330,000 individuals displaced
(including 27,000 refugees in southern Sudan and Central African
Republic). Because these UNOCHA data sets overlap geographically
and chronologically, it is difficult to ascertain cumulative
numbers and current trends.
(U) Of the adults abducted, 289 have escaped (60% or 179 of whom
are female) and received assistance from Oxfam-Quebec. 80% of the
escaped women report having been victims of sexual violence during
their captivity. One-half of the escapees are from the Dungu
region, 16% from Faradje, 14% from Bangadi, 13% from Doruma, and 7%
from Gangala na Bodio (75km east of Dungu).
(U) UNOCHA-Sudan reports that more than 220 people were killed and
at least 157 abducted by the LRA in Southern Sudan in 2009.
UNOCHA-Sudan estimates that 17,000 refugees fled DRC for Southern
Sudan as a result of LRA activities.
(U) UNOCHA in the Central African Republic (CAR) reports that in
October 2,184 Congolese refugees fled to Zemio from Ango in
Bas-Uele as a result of LRA attacks in Digba, Sukadi, Gwane,
Bandundu, Matidi, and Diangadi in the DRC. The number of
LRA-affected refugees in CAR is currently 7,000.
4. Where have the attacks occurred?
(U) Attacks in 2009 were concentrated in DRC's Haut-Uele and
Bas-Uele provinces, and moved progressively westward from the
Faradje area toward the Dungu district and onward as the LRA moved
5. What are estimated numbers of LRA combatants and
non-combatants and in what location?
(U) A November 24 article from the UNOCHA news service IRIN quotes
a western security analyst in the region as saying that "supply
trails" indicate six LRA groups with a total of 500-600 fighters.
The report did not specify the location of these groups. On
November 22, Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) spokesperson Lt
Col Felix Kulayigye said fewer than 100 LRA fighters remain. Other
military sources indicated that 80 LRA fighters are left in the
(SBU) There appears to be no significant LRA presence remaining in
the Faradje area, although there is still a light presence in the
Dungu area. A larger group (believed to include some of Kony's
family and other close associates) was reported to be near Obo,
CAR, and a final, advance group is farther north in CAR heading
6. Have LRA movements been reported? To/from where?
(U) UNOCHA reports that in 2009 the LRA left Garamba National Park
and an initial area of operation around Faradje in DRC and moved
toward DRC's Bas-Uele District, CAR, and southern Sudan.
7. Are other forces in the area that might be responsible for
attacks which are attributed (perhaps wrongly) to the LRA?
(U) A portion of the attacks attributed to the LRA were likely
perpetrated by unknown non-LRA bandits or undisciplined FARDC
troops, but it is impossible to ascertain additional information.
Some attacks were carried out by elements of the LRA who have been
cut off from LRA leadership and engaged in foraging attacks for
their own survival.
8. How many internally-displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees
have been displaced by LRA and related operations against the LRA
since September 2008 (for first report)?
(U) UNOCHA-Province Orientale reports a peak total of 337,100 IDPs
during the period of September 2008 to October 2009, and a current
total of 265,609 IDPs. UNOCHA also estimates 19,000 refugees in
southern Sudan and approximately 7,000 in CAR as result of LRA
activities. (NOTE: Many UN IDP figures cover the entirety of
Province Orientale, including Ituri District which has
approximately 180,000 IDPs; however, only around 40,000 of these
IDPs are attributable to LRA attacks, the remaining are the result
of other rebel groups operating in the area. END NOTE.)
(U) Through September 2009, the UN recorded returns of 33,821
displaced persons in Haut-Uele, 18,297 in Faradje territory, and
15,524 in Dungu territory in the DRC. Dungu has also seen the
spontaneous return of 1,279 Congolese refugees who had fled to
southern Sudan because of the LRA.
(U) The UNOCHA News agency IRIN reported on December 21 that the
people in Niangara in Haut-Uele District, DRC, fled in response to
pamphlets in which the LRA threatened to "celebrate Christmas" in
Niangara and Dungu, a reference to the 2008 Christmas massacre in
which the LRA killed 865 people and abducted more than 160
children. FARDC representatives stressed that the LRA is incapable
in its current form of reproducing this incident. No further
information is available at this time on the number of people
moving or their intended destination. No LRA-related Christmas
incidents occurred in Niangara or Dungu in 2009.
9. What is the location of refugee/displaced populations?
(U) In Haut-Uele, DRC, the majority of the IDPs are in Dungu
District (52%) with the second major area of displacement around
Faradje (30%). Smaller displacements have occurred around Niangara
(11%), Rungu (4%), and Watsa (3%).
(U) Of the 58,770 displaced persons in Bas-Uele District, DRC, the
largest portion (45%) is from Ango, 27% from Bambesa, 19% from
Poko, 8% from Bondo, and 1% from Buta.
10. What is the expected time-line for displaced populations to
return home? Have some populations already returned? (Are
displaced populations static or moving frequently?)
(U) UNOCHA reported the spontaneous return of approximately 33,000
IDPs/refugees to the Faradje area in October 2009. UN colleagues
are otherwise unwilling to forecast a specific return timetable for
IDPs/refugees, indicating that it is entirely dependent on
neutralization of the LRA and restoration of peace.
11. What host government actions have been taken against LRA
forces? UN (including peacekeeping operations) actions? UPDF?
Other (e.g., auto-defense forces?)
(U) OLT/Rudia II was made possible by a coalition forged between
and by the governments and militaries of Uganda, DRC, Southern
Sudan, and CAR. The detailed actions and operations taken by the
coalition against the LRA have been extensively documented in
classified reporting by Embassy Kampala and other embassies in the
12. Have any cross-border coordination efforts taken place
between these forces/agencies?
(U) Yes. The militaries of Uganda, Sudan, DRC, and CAR coordinate
regularly on actions against the LRA.
13. What are the effects on civilians of operations against the
LRA? Have there been reports of human rights abuses by security
forces responding in LRA-affected areas?
(U) We have received no reports of human rights abuses perpetrated
by the UPDF in DRC, CAR or Sudan (reftel 09 KAMPALA 01304 re:
comments by U.S. NGO "Enough" on this). There are 6,000 FARDC
troops stationed (or in process of being deployed) in Haut-Uele and
Bas-Uele. The replacement of the FARDC Republican Guard units with
the integrated 93rd Brigade has humanitarian implications. The
93rd comprises a large element of ex-CNDP and ex-Mai-Mai which has
raised the specter of internal conflicts within FARDC forces and
the possible spillover onto the civilian population. UNOCHA
reports that, in November, 37 Congolese child soldiers have been
demobilized from FARDC units and have arrived in Province Orientale
from the Kivus.
(U) UNOCHA reports that one of the consequences of the change in
FARDC personnel may be a reduction in distributions of humanitarian
assistance in an attempt to avoid putting the population in danger
from unpaid and undisciplined FARDC forces.
(U) Humanitarian agencies report that FARDC is not turning escaped
child soldiers over to MONUC's DDRRR Section. In October 2009, the
FARDC turned over 10 former child soldiers captured more than two
(U) The local population in Gangala and Bodio also reports that
FARDC soldiers are marrying girls under 18 years old. In one
school in Nangondi, the teachers indicated that a dozen girls aged
15-17 had dropped out of school as a result of early marriages with
14. Has information sharing and coordination by national
militaries with the UN been sufficient to allow proactive civilian
protection efforts by peacekeepers?
(SBU) MONUC sources have consistently requested greater
information-sharing from the UPDF on future operations. They
complain that they receive information either at too late a moment
to act or after the fact altogether.
15. What are future plans for anti-LRA operations and/or civilian
protection efforts by these forces/agencies?
(U) As has been noted elsewhere, there are no confirmed reports of
human rights abuses, let alone atrocities, committed by the UPDF
during the operations against the LRA. The UPDF's ability to
protect civilians in LRA affected areas is a function of UPDF
resource constraints. However, the UPDF will continue to uphold a
high standard of behavior with regard to civilian populations in
areas affected by LRA activities.
16. Have UN peacekeeping operations effectively conditioned
support to national militaries on their respect for human rights,
or does such support continue despite reports of human rights
abuses by those militaries against civilians?
(SBU) MONUC does not provide support to units of the FARDC accused
of credible human rights violations. MONUC does not provide
logistical or tactical support to UPDF units because it is not part
of the mandate for their operations in DRC.
17. Which host-government agencies, UN agencies, non-governmental
organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations, etc. are
responding to humanitarian needs in LRA affected areas?
(U) Caritas D????veloppement, Association for Investigation and
Integral Development (AIDER), Commission Dioc????saine Justice et
(CDJP), Cooperazione e Sviluppo (CESVI), International Committee of
the Red Cross (ICRC), Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Cooperazione
Internazionale (COOPI), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),
MEDAIR, MercyCorps, M????decins Sans Fronti????res (MSF)-Switzerland,
OXFAM-Qu????bec, Social and Economic Development Center (SEDEC),
Solidarit????s, T????l????coms Sans Fronti????res (TSF), Office of
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the World Food Program (WFP).
(U) NOTE: The attached map provided by UNOCHA highlights the
locations and interventions of the organizations above. End Note.
18. Please describe humanitarian operations/activities currently
underway in support of LRA-affected populations.
(U) WFP (Sitta Kai-Kai, WFP Country Representative, CAR) reports
that it is providing food for more than 2,000 displaced civilians
in the town of Zemio (1,000km southeast of Bangui).
(U) In Haut-Uele, WFP provides food, MEDAIR and M????decins Sans
Fronti????res-Switzerland are working in the healthcare arena, and
Solidarit????s is providing non-food items (NFIs) as well as
(U) The International Organization for Migration (IOM) deployed a
team on November 19 to begin rehabilitation of the road between
Dungu and Doruma. In October, HI/Atlas began rehabilitation work
on the road between Mambasa-Mungbere-Gao-Dungu.
(U) During the course of the past several months, a number of NGOs
have undertaken assessment missions in the Uele provinces,
including Oxfam-Quebec (Bangadi, Bitima, Gangala), CESVI (Gangala),
MSF and Caritas (Ango).
(U) UNHCR reports that it has established a permanent presence in
Dungu as part of a compound shared with other UN agencies. UNHCR
Regional Representative based in Kinshasa reports that the
inauguration of this compound has been delayed by inter-fighting
among UN agencies about lead roles and "control of the compound";
however, these issues appear to have been resolved.
(U) UNHAS and ECHO are planning to begin flights from other parts
of DRC to Dungu 1-2 times/week.
19. Please describe coordination of these efforts. E.g., is OCHA
coordinating? Host government? Are there regular protection
cluster meetings focusing on LRA-affected areas? Is there adequate
information sharing among NGOs on the ground, UN peacekeepers and
national militaries involved in operations against the LRA?
(U) Coordination is managed via means of sub-clusters (Protection,
Health, Education, Water/Sanitation, Food Security) in Dungu town
which are under the clusters in Bunia. Primary clusters meet once
per month with the exception of the Logistics and Protection
clusters, which meet two times/month. In addition a core team
focused on the Uele provinces meets weekly as does the security
team. UNOCHA also leads a weekly information
dissemination/coordination meeting for all UN agencies/partners.
20. What are the current humanitarian gaps in LRA-affected areas?
(U) Humanitarian access is most severely limited by logistical
challenges. UNOCHA reports that humanitarian actors are currently
unable to undertake missions in Bas-Uele out of Dungu because the
NGO flight service operated by Avions Sans Fronti????res (ASF-Quebec)
is out of service.
(U) UN partner NGO Solidarit????s has performed to evaluations
and Napopo in the area around Bangadi) and determined that there
are multi-sectoral gaps in: non-food items, food, water/sanitation,
shelter, health, and education among both the displaced and local
21. Have there been attacks on NGOs/humanitarian groups, and if
so how has this impacted efforts to respond to humanitarian needs
in LRA-affected areas?
(U) On November 27, an LRA attack against a truck transporting
seeds for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was reported
in Bangadi (Haut-Uele). UNOCHA classified this as the first attack
of its kind by the LRA on a humanitarian convoy in DRC.
(U) In October, Dungu civil society organizations distributed a
memorandum outlining grievances against MONUC and humanitarian
organizations. A meeting called by the territorial administrator
to discuss the issues resulted in an exchange of insults. The
situation has since calmed; however, several issues remain
(U) On October 6, a group of civilians stole NFI kits as well as
material for wat/san and water projects from the stock in Aba
(Haut-Uele) one hour before a distribution was to take place. This
robbery was the result of anger on the part of the local community
that wanted to be included in the distribution along with the
displaced people. As a result of this incident, Solidarit????s
evacuated its team from Dungu on October 7 and suspended all
wat/san and NFI programs in Aba and Kurukwata zones until further
notice. (NOTE: no further information on whether they have resumed
services. UNOCHA continues to identify Solidarit????s as NFI
distributor in Aba. END NOTE.)
22. Please report on any other relevant developments/concerns
related to the LRA not covered above.
(U) There is a plethora of information on the LRA and LRA-affected
areas available, both open and restricted source. For more
detailed reporting on UN agency activities and information
gathering on the LRA and LRA-Affected populations:
???? UNOCHA DRC Website: http://www.rdc-humanitaire.net
???? Embassy Kampala: firstname.lastname@example.org
???? Department of State Humanitarian Information Unit: