The Extension of Operation Lightning Thunder
The Announcement that by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo that Operation Lightning Thunder for an additional 21 Days could be a direct result of the apprehension of General Nkunda and other efforts to reign in the Militias that permeate the eastern part of the DRC.
This Operation which was launched on December 14th does have some interesting flaws that could prove to be fatal in the long run. First of all is how the Senior leadership of the Ugandan Contingent is comprised. Two of the top three leaders are veterans of the Bush Wars that current President Museveni waged against the Government of Milton Obote. After that conflict they were integrated into the new UPDF (Ugandan People's Defense Forces.). This in itself smacks of Political Cronyism.
A second concern which has been denied by the Planners in Kampala has been the lack in the use of Special Forces. Generally in such an Operation such as the one currently underway in the Eastern DRC, Special Forces are used for Recon Missions and to locate where the enemy forces are travelling to. This Operation which according to reports has seen the Ugandan Air Force strike empty camps and has the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) Moving in small groups towards the Central African Republic has deprived the Ugandan Forces of their eyes and ears. This is a major strategic setback.
Although there have been scattered reports of casualties among the LRA Forces the world has heard more about their reprisals than the successes of the UPDF. Since this offensive began on December 14th at least 620 civilians have been killed by the LRA in the DRC and the neighboring part of Sudan. During this time the LRA has shot down a Ugandan Aircraft with a Surface to Air Missile that many people believe was supplied by the Sudanese Government. There has been Independent confirmation of the reprisal attacks by Media Outlets. For the casualty figures during the offensive the Ugandan Military has been the only source of information.
At this time the Mandate for Military Operations is set to expire some time in early Feburary. Most observers are expecting that this Mandate will be extended for at least another fortnight to prevent the LRA from finding a sanctuary in the Central African Republic and disrupting that peace process. The Efforts of FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) working alongside the Rwandan Military to reign in the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) has provided one key result. It has been announced that General Nkunda the ally of President Kagame has been taken into custody. This means that the LRA has few options available.
As long as Joseph Kony and the other senior leadership of this Militia stay out in the Bush they will be a threat to regional stability. The Situation in Darfur remains tense and the CPA (Comprehensive Peace Accord) in Southern Sudan is in Danger of possibly collapsing later on this year. This could mean that despite the planning of this mission the days of the LRA could in fact be numbered. For the Children of Northern Uganda and their Families, for those in Sudan, the CAR, and in the Congo who have suffered Attacks virtually unabated for the Last Month and the various Peace Processes there has to be Closure in this matter.
After that the Peace Makers can restore Peace and Tranquility to a region that has seen bloodshed for over two decades.
The Author Publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet and Comments on US Policy towards Africa. Confused Eagle can be found at morganrights.tripod.com
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