OCTOBER 16, 2010: LRA rebels to be given 'terrorist' status

LRA rebels to be given 'terrorist' status

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

African Union

Central African countries plagued by the brutal rebellion of the Lord's Resistance Army are working to reclassify the group as terrorists, the African Union said on Saturday.

At a meeting this week in the Central African Republic aimed at promoting a joint approach to the LRA, participants agreed to take steps to have the LRA classified as terrorists, rather than rebels, by the AU.

This would give affected countries greater access to international funds and require increased levels of judicial cooperation.

The group has killed about 2,000 people in the last two years, and displaced more than 400,000, according to the UN.

Representatives from Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan met in Bangui on Wednesday and Thursday, along with Kenya, where they also agreed to step up joint military action.

"Participants agreed to the following concrete measures: the creation of a joint centre of operations, the creation of a joint taskforce to lead actions against the LRA, and the deployment of joint border patrols," the AU said in a statement.

The LRA emerged in 1998 in northern Uganda as a rebel movement dedicated to overthrowing the east African country's government and establishing a regime to uphold the Biblical Ten Commandments, but it was largely put down in its own country.

Today it is infamous for regional atrocities against civilians, including massacres, and its leaders are wanted for war crimes. Uganda launched a joint raid with DR Congo troops against it in December 2008, but failed to crush it or capture its chief, Joseph Kony.

URL Address: http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/MUMA-8AC9L5?OpenDocument

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