History of the conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo
Once infamous for their widespread atrocities in Uganda, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is now scattered among the border regions of Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic. Since 2008, an estimated 7,600 people have been abducted by the LRA in these three countries alone.
In the remote border regions of northeastern DRC, the LRA have been able to survive, and even thrive. The rise of the LRA, criminal gangs and armed cattle keepers, and the absence of effective governance and security have combined to form a deadly mixture of violent crime, land-based conflict and displacement. The LRA has had a particularly devastating effect on young people in this part of the country – largely because they are frequent targets for abduction. Those who manage to escape, often struggle to reintegrate into their communities and must deal with the emotional trauma of the violence they were exposed to.
In eastern DRC, deep-rooted mistrust between civilians and security forces in one of the main drivers of conflict. Over 120 armed groups operate in this region, which hosts around 4.5 million internally displaced people - the highest number in Africa. Limited response to community early warning reports adds to the perception that the FARDC (Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo) is ineffective or unwilling to protect communities. In return, FARDC commanders are frustrated by a lack of civilian support.
Our work in Democratic Republic of Congo
We work in both the northeast and east of Democratic Republic of Congo, supporting grassroots peacebuilding initiatives which are tailored to the specific conflict issues in these regions.
In the northeast, our work promotes and supports the involvement of young people in preventing conflict in areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. As well as training in peacebuilding techniques, we’re also supporting young people who were abducted by the LRA to return to their communities and overcome the trauma of captivity.
In eastern DRC, we’re working to improve the strained relationships between civilians and the military. Dialogue workshops and radio broadcasts provide rare opportunities for youth groups, women, community leaders, Congolese authorities and security forces to exchange ideas and build channels for communication and collaboration.