Nzako Mass Defection Reports
In August 2013, LRA forces near Banale, CAR made contact with local residents, delivering letters addressed to the local authorities in nearby Nzako and to Michel Djotodia, head of the transitional authorities in CAR. The letters, allegedly sent at the request of LRA leader Joseph Kony, indicated that a large group of LRA members were interested in defecting and possibly settling in Central African territory. They were delivered by a group of LRA representatives under the command of Major Otto "Sam" Ladeere, known as a trusted lieutenant of Kony's who has previously served as both his bodyguard and the LRA's Director of Intelligence. Ladeere's outreach is the first instance in which an active LRA commander has expressed a willingness to negotiate the defection of a large group of LRA members since the collapse of the Juba Peace Talks in November 2008. However, there is not yet concrete evidence that the LRA leader Joseph Kony is directly involved or even aware of the Ladeere's actions.
Djotodia responded to the letter with one of his own and designated General Damane, a close ally, as his primary interlocutor with the LRA group. In September and October contact between Central African authorities and Ladeere's group intensified, with Central African authorities reportedly sending 20 bags of manioc and other supplies to the LRA group and even offering LRA forces territory in which to settle.