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The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 795th meeting, held in Addis Ababa, on 20 September 2018, adopted the following decision on the implementation of the AU-led Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA):

1.    Takes note of the statement made by the Acting Director of Peace and Security, on behalf of the Commissioner for Peace and Security, as well as by the representative of the United Nations Office to the AU on the implementation of the AU-led RCI-LRA;

2.    Recalls the mandate given to the RCI-LRA at its 299th meeting, held on 22 November 2011, when Council authorised the operationalization of the Initiative, pursuant to the request of the Assembly of the Union, as contained in decision Assembly/AU/Dec.369(XVII), and in this context, Council takes note of the achievements made in the fight against the LRA;  

3.    Commends all the Member States, as well as the AU partners, for providing the necessary support to the RCI-LRA, particularly in logistical, financial and technical terms, to facilitate the effective functioning of the different components of the Initiative, as well as to build the capacity of the armed and security forces of the affected countries. Council takes note with deep concern the serious financial challenges facing the RCI-LRA which is impacting on the execution of its mandate. Council underscores the importance of the presence of the RCI-LRA on the ground and appeals to all Member States and partners to further mobilize and provide their financial support with a view to preventing a security vacuum that may occur if the RCI-LRA is not fully defeated, more so taking cognissance of the inability of the national security forces of the Centrals African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to eliminate the LRA on their own, due to their operational, financial and logistical challenges;

4.    Decides to maintain the RCI-LRA, pending the development of a strategy to progressively phase out the RCI-LRA without leaving any security vacuum that the LRA could use to renew and intensify its destabilisation activities in the affected areas;

5.    Requests the AU Commission to develop an exit strategy, with realistic timelines, for the liquidation of the RCI-LRA, including concrete alternatives to the RCI-LRA. In this regard, Council calls on the AU Commission to:

i.    Urgently undertake consultations with the ECCAS to explore and establish modalities of putting in place alternative security arrangements, within the framework of the African Standby Force, to be led by the ECCAS with a view to accomplishing the fight against the LRA,

ii.    Requests CISSA to deploy its network to strengthen the capacities of the affected countries in gathering intelligence for directing targeted operations against the LRA,

iii.    Develop a regional strategy for the stabilisation of LRA-affected areas, basing on lessons learned from the regional strategy for the stabilisation, recovery and resilience in Boko Haram-affected areas of the Lake Chad Basin region,

iv.    Request the UN Peace Building Commission to support efforts for the stabilisation of the LRA-affected areas, in implementation of the UN Regional Strategy to address the threat and impact of the activities of the LRA in Central Africa,

v.    Calls for further mobilization of the requisite resources in order to re-energize the Office of the AU Special Envoy for LRA Issues to enable the Envoy to continue coordinating political and diplomatic efforts against the LRA;

6.    Requests the AU Commission to update the PSC on the implementation of this decision during December 2018;

7.    Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Posted by Limi Mohammed

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