Addis Ababa September 20/2012 Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan and Uganda have handed over their counter- Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) contingents to the Regional Task Force (RTF) as part of the implementation of the Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the LRA.
Uganda and South Sudan have jointly handed over 2,500 soldiers in a ceremony presided over by the Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for the LRA issue, AU told ENA in a press release on Thursday.
It said earlier CAR had handed over 350 soldiers to the RTF as part of the battalion of 450 soldiers that CAR intends to contribute to the RTF.
According to AU, the Special Representatives of the UN Secretary General and Head of the UN Office in CAR, the Force Commander of the UN Mission, the U.S Ambassador and the European Union (EU)Delegation in South Sudan, among others, have attended the ceremony.
It stated the UPDF Chief of Defense Forces stressed that the arms in the hands of LRA have significantly reduced since the launch of Operation Lighting Thunder in north-eastern DRC in 2008.
AU said that Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF) and Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) would continue to fully collaborate to search, combat and soon eliminate LRA remnants from the region.
Uganda’s Minister of Defence saluted the UPDF and SPLA for their commitment to eliminate the LRA and urged for continued support to the on-going military efforts.
AU thanked the UN, the EU and the US for their support, and appealed for more in terms of food, transport, health care and medical evacuation, uniforms and other logistics, to sustain the counter LRA operations and continued unified action against it.
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General hailed the hand over of the national contingents to the RTF as a major landmark in the operation and pledged the continued support of the UN to the AU-led efforts.