DRC: ERC Amos calls for better security in LRA-affected areas
On the last day of her visit to the DRC, ERC Amos visited Orientale Province where she heard harrowing testimonies from those who survived the brutality committed by the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army.
Haut-Uele and Bas-Uele districts are the scene of brutalities committed by the Ugandan armed group Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA has killed nearly 2,000 civilians and abducted nearly 3,000, including an estimated 1,500 children in these districts since December 2007.
In the village of Bangadi, located approximately 50 kilometres from the border with Southern Sudan, Ms. Amos heard harrowing testimonies from survivors, who had been abducted by the LRA. "The LRA continues to commit atrocities against civilians, and those who have been displaced have no prospect of going back home any time soon," said Ms. Amos after her visit. "The LRA are brutal. They have mutilated and killed many local people, and hundreds of kidnapped children have never returned."
During meetings with authorities and humanitarian workers in the province, Ms. Amos emphasised the primary responsibility of the Government of the DRC for protecting civilians, but also expressed concern that the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) did not have sufficient resources to protect civilians adequately and ensure access for humanitarian operations in LRA-affected areas. "MONUSCO is a deterrent for the LRA, and its presence is also essential to facilitate humanitarian access and operations in this province," she stated.