UN urged to declare Kony army a terrorist group
The African Union urged the UN Security Council on Friday to declare Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army a terrorist organisation to step up pressure on the rebels.
Francisco Madeira, the AU special envoy on the LRA, also made a new appeal for ammunition, food and equipment for a four-nation force that is being deployed to hunt Kony.
The African Union put Kony's group on its terror list in November. Madeira told the UN Security Council it should consider an AU request to follow the lead and "declare the LRA a terrorist organization."
Such a move could increase international measures to track financing and other support for the rebel group.
Madeira said African troops, who are being helped by 100 US military advisers, "have already sustained pressure on the LRA, keeping the rebels constantly on the run."
Highlighting the May capture of the rebels' number four leader, Caesar Acellam, Madeira said there had been other raids since then and that on June 16, Ugandan troops killed two LRA fighters and rescued seven abducted civilians. He did not say where the battle took place.
A 5 000-strong force from Uganda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic is being built up to hunt Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes.
The UN mission in DR Congo, non-government groups and the US government are organizing "psychological actions" such as radio messages and air drops of leaflets encouraging LRA fighters to defect, the AU envoy said.
Most of the multinational force has yet to be deployed in the huge, remote jungle and mountain region the LRA fighters are said to call home.
And Madeira said the force needs "concrete support" through training, munitions, food rations, communications, medical support, air and ground mobility, as well as fuel "to enable them to undertake robust military operations."
Kony, who launched his rebellion in Uganda two decades ago, is now said to have between 300 and 500 troops. About half of these are children or former child soldiers.
The UN estimates that LRA attacks have caused the displacement of more than 445 000 people.
A new UN-AU strategy on the rebels calls for increased action to protect civilians in LRA zones, to disarm and demobilize its fighters and to help governments establish their authority in the conflict zones.