Ugandan troops exit the DR of Congo

As the troops leave the Congo, abductees are rescued, captives are returned home, and peace talks are renewed

Last week, the Ugandan army pulled their troops out of the Democratic Repulic of Congo after the three-month operation known as “Lightening Thunder” against the Lord’s Resistance Army.  

According to the Washington Post,  around 3,000 Ugandan soldiers left northeastern Congo to return home.  Lieutenant-General Ivan Koreta, deputy chief of Ugandan Peoples Defense Force, said, “Our colleagues will continue.  We’ll keep sharing intelligence.”  Koreta expects that his soldiers will not return to the Congo to help them capture the leader of the LRA, Joseph Kony.

In December of 2008, the Ugandan Peoples Defense Force sent troops over to the DR of Congo to aid in stopping the LRA from terrorizing the Congolese people.  The Invisible Children newsroom reported that the three-month co-operation “Lightning Thunder” achieved in disorganizing and scattering the LRA’s army.  Also, Invisible Children cites that nearly 80% of the LRA’s troops were destroyed.  

A Ugandan soldier

A Ugandan soldier

Despite the successes of the operation, criticism remains strong.  According to the Washington Post, critics find little to celebrate because the operation failed in capturing the LRA’s notorious leader, Joseph Kony, and his two deputies.  Kony and his deputies have waged a two-decade rebellious war against the governments of Uganda and the surrounding countries.  The LRA is most recently responsible for the massacre of many Congolese villages and the murder of over 900 Congolese civilians.

The Ugandan army chief just released that 12 UPDF soldiers were killed during Lightning Thunder operation in Congo, according to New Vision, Uganda’s news website.  General Aronda Nyakairima said that 19 other Ugandan soldiers were wounded in an aircraft crash.  

Even though there is much criticism on the operation, there were some victories that shouldn’t go unmentioned.  Invisible Children cites that 19 abductees were rescued during the last week of the Ugandan involvement of the operation.  During that same week, 16 rebel soldiers were killed, including a senior rebel commander.

As this operation comes to close, an LRA spokesman is calling for a renewed peace talk.  David Matsanga wrote a letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asking to negotiate a cease fire.  However, the governments of South Sudan, DR of Congo, and Uganda remain skeptical of starting peace talks with the LRA because in the past the LRA has used that time to reorganize their troops.

Here is the link to a video done by the New York Times about the mass killings of the Congolese people which lead to the Ugandan involvement.

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~ by margeincharge on March 27, 2009.

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