It has been confirmed that at least 16 people were killed in Central African Republic (CAR) last week. The unidentified assailants, suspected to be LRA, killed six civilians and abducted an additional 12. The civilians then killed four of the attackers in self-defense. The assailants went on to kill six more, decapitating the victims in a reprisal attack. The gender and/or ages of those killed or abducted have not been released.

While it’s been widely reported that this occurred in the central mining region of Bria, our sources on the ground say the attacks actually took place in Akosso and Pipidemotro, two villages which are located 15 kms outside of Ouadda and roughly 200 km north of Bria. LRA leader Joseph Kony has reportedly operated in this remote area of CAR this year, as well as just across the nearby border with Sudan. While we can say this is within the LRA area of operation and the attack exhibits trademarks of the LRA, other armed groups operate in that area and it has yet to be determined who is ultimately responsible for the most recent killings.

This map: "B" is Bria and A is the rough location of the two towns that were attacked.

“B” is Bria and “A” is the rough location of the two towns that were attacked.

After the LRA killed more than 320 people over four days in December 2009 (in what is now known as the Makombo Massacre), Invisible Children partnered with local community organizations in DR Congo (DRC) and CAR to establish the Early Warning Radio Network. Composed of high-frequency, two-way, long-range radios, the network warns nearby communities with twice-daily security calls of LRA movement and also alerts security and humanitarian groups who can provide vital services. We have been steadily expanding the coverage of the HF network so that even the most remote of communities will be aware of impending attacks.

The coverage of the Early Warning Radio Network in relation to the attacks.

The coverage of the Early Warning Radio Network in relation to the attacks.

Due to the recent takeover by Seleka in March, counter-LRA operations led by the Ugandan military (UPDF) and supported by U.S. advisers are on hold and expansion of the HF network has stalled, leaving communities more vulnerable. Seleka announced they will be launching their own two-week counter-LRA mission in response to these recent attacks. While we encourage Seleka to be involved, we are also hoping they protect all of their citizens in Bangui or Obo.

It is becoming abundantly clear that counter-LRA operations to protect civilians and pursue LRA commanders need to be reinstated; the suspension has shown to be devastating for the civilian population who depends on these external forces for protection. Our IC|Citizen team is launching a campaign in early July to reinforce this urgency to U.S. members of Congress.

See the scope of our Protection Programs and how we’re working with regional partners to do all we can to ensure the safety of innocent civilians [HERE].