Central Africa

British Pilot and Colleagues Cleared of Lord’s Resistance Army Massacre

For me, the most bemusing of the criticisms of Kony2012 was the expectation that an Internet promo-film for secondary school children should be able to withstand criticism from professional Africa watchers or journalists.

As wrongheaded it was the carry-out screenings at locations in which Lord’s Resistance Army had operated – causing scenes of blind panic from still traumatized survivors – I could not comprehend the basic objection to a production which could encourage an interested from teenagers. With a little research, they would be expected to come to the conclusion that simply because the LRA had moved its operational base from Uganda over the porous border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and thence to the Central African Republic, it remained a dreadful threat to civilians and the security situation across the region.

And, even if it and Joseph Kony no longer presented a threat, they would remain guilty of acts of soul destroying brutality just a few years previously in the same way Thomas Lubanga had before running for elected office (on a temporary basis, at least).

A change of career which the international court system considers to be irrelevant.

The LRA most certainly has remained active, not least in the Orientale region of the DRC: location of the 2009 Makombo massacre amongst others.

Now British private pilot, David Simpson has returned home after five months in detention in CAR; ostensibly for involvement in a massacre of 13 gold miners in the south eastern province of Mbomou which borders Orientale.

After Simpson and his work colleagues reported the new massacre, preliminary investigations hinted at LRA involvement.

Whatever doubts there were, however, it should have been that Simpson and his colleagues had no conceivable motive for carrying out the massacre, even if their drawing attention to an event which otherwise would have gone undiscovered for a considerable period of time was a tactical manoeuvre.

One suspected reason for their being investigated by the authorities was local conflicts with the big game company they worked for.

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