The disarmament of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group has commenced in the Central African Republic town of Mboki, HumAngle can report.
Official sources in the Central African Republic said after Mboki town in the southeast of the country, the disarmament operation which started on Friday, April 22 would continue in Zenio also located in the prefecture of Haut-Mbomou.
The disarmament process is already inspiring a lot of optimism within the local populations who have been victims of the atrocities committed by armed groups in the country over the years.
In Obo, Maurice Mbassilimoke, the village’s chief is hopeful that with the disarmament of the LRA rebels, most of the hostages held by the armed group would be released. The chief said he was looking forward to a day when former fighters and their victims will live together in peace.
“During their first arrival in the Central African Republic, they came to my house in 2008. The LRA rebels came to capture men to torture and kill them. Many of our children have since remained with them,” he recalled.
“They started capturing the young men here and continued right to Sam-Ouandjia. I think today that the LRA is out of breath. They want to lay down their arms. It is a very good thing and if we don’t accept them, they will continue to always kill.”
In Obo, the general consensus among the victims, the civil society, and local authorities is favourable towards the surrender of the LRA elements.
But many expressed concerns over where the disarmed former LRA rebels would be stationed.
Hon. Ernest Midzedjo, the member of parliament for Obo, does not want former LRA fighters to be housed in the region.
“From 2009 to 2011, they massacred people and burnt villages. They burnt farms and storage facilities. We have suffered so much from them,” the lawmaker said.
“If they today want to leave the bushes, we begin to fear what is behind their decision to quit the marquis. Are they sincere? And even if they are sincere, the traumatism of their past behaviours remains ingrained in the minds of the people here.”
“The people fear their tormentors of yesterday. They massacred so many people here and the LRA is a historic chapter among the people here.”
Jude Ngayakon, the Prefect of Haut-Mbomou, on his part, was optimistic about the success of the exercise and according to him, the state services, the non-governmental organisations (NGO) and the United Nations have been working hand-in-hand to ensure the success of the operation.
“There would first be sensitisation and everybody would know what to do after the disarmament, especially how to behave. We should not be surprised, let everyone know what could happen,” Ngayakon said.
“This orientation concerns the UN High Commission for Refugees, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and all the NGOs implanted in the town of Obo.”
Among the NGOs present in Obo, Invisible Children is already taking charge of the women who were sexually abused and their children.
The number of rebels to be disarmed remains unknown for now.
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