Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) forces abducted 44 civilians in eight attacks in October, among the lowest monthly totals recorded in 2016. Five of these attacks and nearly all of the abductions were likely committed by the LRA splinter group led by Achaye Doctor, which has been operating independently of Joseph Kony’s command since late 2014.
Achaye splinter group targets communities in southeast CAR
The Achaye LRA splinter group has been operating in southeastern Central African Republic (CAR) along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since January 2016. The group was likely responsible for all five LRA attacks in that region in October, in which a total of 40 people were abducted. The Achaye group’s attacks were concentrated near the towns of Zemio, Dembia, and Derbissaka. Most notably, the group is suspected of looting a commercial truck carrying food destined for South Sudanese refugees on October 26. During the attack, 18 people were temporarily abducted to porter the looted food towards LRA camps in the bush.
Five Congolese and Central African male youths escaped from the Achaye splinter group in October, all in the village of Derbissaka. They had all spent between 3-24 months in the Achaye group and had received some degree of military training.
Low levels of armed group activity in northeastern DRC
Only two LRA attacks were recorded in DRC in October, the lowest monthly total of 2016. Four bicyclists were temporarily abducted in one of the attacks, occurring October 7th near Naparka. There were three incidents involving conflict between armed pastoralists and other community members west of Garamba National Park in October. In two of the incidents, October 8th near Duru and October 16th west of Ngilima, pastoralists clashed with local hunters.
On October 25th, The Bureau d’Études, de Recherches, et Consulting International (BERCI) and the Congo Research Group (CRG) released a survey of public opinion in DRC. Less than 15% of respondents in Bas Uele province and less than 35% of respondents in Haute Uele province reported feeling safer in 2016 than they did five years previously. A majority of respondents in both provinces felt that the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC (MONUSCO) should remain in the country, with those in Haute Uele giving the mission higher marks for protecting civilians.