A radio project initiated by Invisible Children to lure the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels out of the bush has led to protests in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Invisible Children last year set up radio stations in areas that the LRA rebels are operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. The radio stations which broadcast on FM band were set up with the objective of disseminating messages urging members of the LRA group to abandon rebellion and return to resettle in their homes.
The radio project is however yet to register success in the fight against the Joseph Kony led LRA insurgency. Jolly Okot Andruvile, the Regional Ambassador says the Congolese don’t want the messages to be aired out in the local radios because they are in Acholi dialect, the language spoken by the brutal rebels.
Okot says Invisible Children had hoped to reach out to the rebels in Acholi dialect which is spoken by a majority of the combatants
Okot says other challenges that are hindering defections among LRA include failure by the Kinshasha government to recognize that the LRA are living in the Garamba National Park and the hostility that the Congolese government forces have towards LRA returnees. Okot says the Congolese army has been harming the LRA rebels who surrender to them.
Meanwhile several LRA rebels in Congo have reportedly expressed interest in giving up rebellion.
Reverend Father Ernest Sugule, the Coordinator of Solidarité et Assistance Intégrale aux Personnes Démunies-SAIPD, a local NGO says locals in Dungu say the rebels are becoming friendly and no longer carryout abductions.
Sugule says the rebels now request for foodstuffs unlike in the past when they would loot. He says a week ago an LRA rebel reportedly approached villagers and requested that he be given a bicycle to ride around the village.
He says the rebel later returned the bicycle after three days.