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Dear Obama: Messages from victims of the LRA

In this video from VII Magazine and photographer Marcus Bleasdale, victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in central Africa call upon U.S. President Barack Obama for urgent and decisive action to neutralize the LRA.

Since September 2008, at least 2,000 civilians have been killed and nearly 3,000 others have been abducted by the LRA. The LRA, a Ugandan rebel group, operates in the border region between northern Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. Many of the group’s victims, including children, have been beaten to death, had their skulls crushed or their heads sliced with machetes. Abducted children are forced to kill their family members. Leader Joseph Kony and the LRA have been operating like this in the area for over 25 years.

On May 24, 2010, President Obama signed into law legislation committing the U.S. government to develop within 180 days a comprehensive, multilateral strategy to protect civilians in central Africa from LRA attacks, and take steps to permanently stop the violence.

Three of the LRA’s leaders — Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen — are sought by the International Criminal Court under arrest warrants issued in July 2005 for war crimes committed in northern Uganda. All three remain at large and continue to commit atrocities.

Earlier this month, President Obama sent in 100 U.S. combat forces to provide assistance to local African governments to neutralize the LRA and take down Joseph Kony.\

Watch the video at VII Magazine.

Need to Know presents VII Magazine, a journalistic partnership with VII Photo, which gives readers unprecedented intimate access to the work of the world’s leading photojournalists. Every day, our partners at VII showcase a new photo, and each week, a new video or audio slideshow.