December 20, 2010

Aid groups launch ‘Ghosts of Christmas Past’

by Jan Harris

Christmas should be time of peace and celebration but for remote communities in Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) the last two Christmases have been times of unimaginable terror.

The communities are being terrorised by The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a brutal, Messianic cult led by Joseph Kony, which has been active for more than 20 years and seeks to overthrow the Ugandan government.

The LRA is believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 800 people in the DRC and Southern Sudan during Christmas 2008 and is believed to have killed more than 300 villagers in the DRC in the run up to Christmas last year.

Hundreds of people were also abducted by the group during the brutal attacks.

Many members of the LRA, including children, have been forcibly taken by the group and made to commit horrific acts against their community, making it impossible for them to return home.

Aid groups have today launched the ‘Ghosts of Christmas Past’ campaign in an effort to prevent the group committing another Christmas massacre this year.

The campaign calls for more humanitarian aid, a stronger military effort to stop any more brutal killings taking place this year, and the involvement of the UN Security Council.

The organisations involved include: Broederlijk Delen, Cafod, Christian Aid, Conciliation Resources, Cordaid, Danish Refugee Council, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Intersos, Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam, Pax Christi Flanders, Peace Direct, Refugees International, Resolve, Society For Threatened Peoples, Tearfund, Trocaire, War Child UK, and World vision.

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