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An LRA for Everyone: How Different Actors Frame the Lord’s Resistance Army

January 5, 2015 Comments off

An LRA for Everyone: How Different Actors Frame the Lord’s Resistance Army
Source: African Affairs

During the last decade, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) became a regional problem in the border area of the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic, involving multiple national and international actors. This article explains why these actors often present diametrically opposed images of the LRA instead of developing a unified vision. More specifically, the article discusses how the Ugandan and Congolese governments and armies, and the US government and advocacy groups, each frame the LRA differently. These various frames are influenced by the actors’ interests and by the specific historical development of political relations between them. Politically influential constituencies played a significant role in this endeavour. In the US, lobby groups such as Invisible Children, Enough, and Resolve had an important impact on the way in which the American government framed the LRA. Conversely, the lack of such a powerful constituency in the LRA-affected countries gave these governments ample space to frame the LRA in a variety of ways. The lack of reliable information about the current capacities of the LRA, combined with the LRA’s lack of a strong and coherent image, further contributed to this situation. In short, the ways in which the LRA is framed enabled these key actors to pursue goals that may remain distant from the reality of the LRA.

Ethnic Cleansing and Sectarian Killings in the Central African Republic

February 21, 2014 Comments off

Ethnic Cleansing and Sectarian Killings in the Central African Republic
Source: Amnesty International

“Ethnic cleansing” of Muslims has been carried out in the western part of the Central African Republic, the most populous part of the country, since early January 2014. Entire Muslim communities have been forced to flee, and hundreds of Muslim civilians who have not managed to escape have been killed by the loosely organised militias known as anti-balaka.

“They killed my children heartlessly,” said Oure, a Muslim woman whose four sons were killed by anti-balaka fighters on 26 January. She, her two sisters, their 75-year-old mother, and seven of the family’s children had gone out early in the morning, trying to reach a church in the northwest town of Baoro, when they were caught by an anti-balaka militia unit. “The children were slaughtered in front of our eyes,” Oure continued, sobbing: “both my children and my sisters’ children.” One of Oure’s sisters, Aishatu, was wounded on her hand when she tried to protect the children, who were boys ranging in age from 8 to 17 years old.

Amnesty International has documented large-scale and repeated anti-balaka attacks on Muslim civilian populations in Bouali, Boyali, Bossembélé, Bossemptélé, Baoro, Bawi, and the capital, Bangui, in January, and has received credible information regarding additional attacks in Yaloke, Boda, and Bocaranga. Some of these attacks were carried out in revenge for the previous killing of Christian civilians by Seleka forces and armed Muslims.

CRS — Crisis in the Central African Republic

February 13, 2014 Comments off

Crisis in the Central African Republic (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This report provides background on the evolving political, security, and humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR), which began when a fractious rebel coalition seized control of the central government in March 2013. The report also describes U.S. policy responses and analyzes possible issues for Congress, including oversight of U.S. humanitarian assistance and support for international stabilization efforts in CAR. Congress may also influence the U.S. position in the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council over whether to authorize a U.N. peacekeeping operation in CAR, which would have cost and policy implications.

Country Specific Information: Central African Republic

August 7, 2011 Comments off

Country Specific Information: Central African Republic
Soure: U.S. Department of State

August 01, 2011

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Central African Republic (CAR) is one of the world’s least developed nations, and has experienced several periods of political instability since independence from France in 1960. Despite an on-going peace process and the presence of a democratically-elected government in the capital, Bangui, rebels still control large portions of the country’s northern and eastern provinces. In the Dzanga-Sangha National Park in the southwest, facilities for tourists are being developed but remain limited. Read the Department of StateBackground Notes on the Central African Republic for additional information.

The U.S. Embassy in Bangui resumed operations in January 2005, following the evacuation of all U.S. staff in 2002. The Embassy continues to operate with limited staffing, and can provide only basic services to U.S. citizens in the CAR.

State Department Travel Warning: Central African Republic

July 31, 2011 Comments off

State Department Travel Warning: Central African Republic
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to the Central African Republic (CAR), and recommends against all but essential travel outside the capital, Bangui. Travelers in the CAR should exercise extreme caution. This replaces the Travel Warning of January 14, 2011, to reflect the current security situation and the potential for spontaneous demonstrations.

Armed militia groups, bandits, and poachers present real dangers, and the Central African government is unable to guarantee the safety of visitors in most parts of the country. There have been repeated attacks on Central African and expatriate travelers in the countryside. Poachers and armed men also pose a threat to game hunters in northern and eastern CAR. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) poses a similar threat to hunters in eastern CAR.

Bangui suffers from elevated crime rates for both petty and violent crime, as well as particularly limited transport and medical options. CAR military and civilian security forces (and people posing as such) staff checkpoints throughout the city, frequently harassing international residents and visitors for bribes. Spontaneous demonstrations take place in CAR from time to time in response to world events or local developments. We remind you that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. You are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any public gatherings. You should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times.

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