Joint forces lure LRA rebel fighters with music

Kampala. After years of unsuccessful attempts to smoke LRA commander Joseph Kony out of his hideout in Central African Republic (CAR) using guns and bombs, the Counter-LRA Taskforce has brought flavour to the battlefield in form of pop music to woo his fighters to defect.

In the campaign, the task force comprising of African Union’s Regional Counter-LRA Task Force (AU-RTF) and US Special Operations forces are using local star, Joseph Mayanja alias Jose Chameleone’s song “Come Home” which is blasted from helicopter loudspeakers over the jungles of CAR.
In the roughly 4-minute track which was recorded in October 2013 by Chameleon under his Leone Island brand, at the urging of the US Embassy in Uganda, he sings: “Your mama, baba and family are waiting for you. ..do not suffer out there thinking nobody cares about you.”
“Come home” has received limited or perhaps no radio airplays but it is available online on the E-commerce store and Amazon for purchase. Chameleone was not readily available for comment of his peace-making effort as his known phone number was unavailable.

The UPDF spokesperson, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, told Daily Monitor the campaign dubbed “come back home” has been going on for a while.
Lt Col Ankunda said in the campaign, flyers are also dropped indicating telephone numbers and specific points where defecting fighters can receive help.
“It was started by a US non-profit organisation Bridgeway Foundation. They play the song from speakers we call sky shouters over the jungle urging rebels to come home,” Lt Col Ankunda explained.

A US Embassy field officer attached to the State Department, Bureau of Conflict and Stabilisation Operations (CSO), Mr Martin Regan told abc news late last month that the campaign coupled with increased military pressure against the LRA forces, has led to a drastic decrease in LRA numbers.
“The message that it [the campaign] conveys is this: you were abducted, this is not your fault, this is your land, and you are welcome back here,” he said.

musisif@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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