Peter Maido, “These LRA rebels are more than monster killers”

The latest wave of LRA violence in South Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has left hundreds of civilians affected. Peter Maido, an aid worker with the Justice and Peace Commission in Tombora, in South Sudan's Western Equatoria state, fled his village of Ezo after surviving recent LRA attacks in the area.



“We are seeing what nobody has ever experienced in his/her life. These LRA rebels are more than monster killers. I can’t even go to my village because the rebels are roaming everywhere and killing whoever they come across; they are roaming in groups of five to 10 people.



“The killings are so intense but you cannot know when they happen because the area is so remote with no roads. Sometimes we get reports of killings after a week.



“The situation has gone very silent because it’s not a priority for government. We struggled for our freedom as South Sudanese but why are we being left alone with no protection?



“The government gets serious when it come to issues of Abyei, Kordofan and Darfur, but why not the LRA problem?



“There is no civilian protection, there is no one to rescue children and women abducted by the LRA. The South Sudan army say their work is to only protect the borders but not following and fighting the LRA.



“Youths are fed up, they are forming paramilitary groups armed with spears, bows and arrows to defend themselves but this is dangerous [because] everybody will get armed escalating violence.



“Last year government promised to provide five million South Sudan pounds [US$1.9m] to support these paramilitary groups but nothing has been done so far.



“People have fled villages and are living in IDP camps where conditions are deplorable. In Ezo alone there are 13 camps; three camps have been set up specifically for people fleeing DRC and CAR.



“Information from abductees says LRA leader Joseph Kony was in Bitima [a town in northern DRC close to the border with South Sudan], a few months ago, but of late he is somewhere in CAR.  



“The reason why the LRA are concentrating in these areas is because of the thick vegetation with plenty of wild food like fruits, yams and the cover it provides for their hiding.



“Some of the LRA groups make periodic movements to Wau and Raja [in South Sudan] towards Darfur to trade with nomadic tribes. Normally when they return from these places, they become very strong because of the ammunition and food they have acquired.



“People have nothing to do, you can’t farm but only wake up every morning, sit and wait for what the day will bring.



“The relief being provided is very little, people are surviving out of the mercy of God.



“The only way out of this problem is for government to fight the LRA like we did in the liberation struggle so that people return to their villages.



“All the LRA rebels, including their commanders, should be flushed out of the area and apprehended to bring everlasting peace for us.”



ca/mw