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The Lord's Resistance Army

Background 1986-Present Day

Soldiers of the Lord's Resistance Army, image copyright

It was in 1986 that the Lord's Resistance Army emerged as a powerful rebel army. The leader of this group, Joseph Kony, is a self-proclaimed messiah and a devout Catholic. The LRA does not appear to have any main political purpose, though it claims its right to defend the Acholi people of Uganda. However, the LRA has been attacking its own Acholi people by brutal means. Mutilation, rape, torture, murder, and abductions are a common occurrence in the Northern region of Uganda.

Though the LRA is not the only known rebel group to abduct children and force them into soldiers, it is the most well known. Joseph Kony has created a militia composed mainly of children; it is estimated that the majority of these abducted soldiers are under the age of 18.  Joseph Kony collects these children as a form of protection. The government military cannot bring themselves to murder an innocent child. The majority of these children are captured during night raids and have no hope of survival if they refuse to join the LRA.

Throughout the civil war, there have been many attempted peace talks and negotiations. The LRA began to feel the pressures from the international community as arrest warrants were placed on the top five ringleaders, the main one being Joseph Kony. Peace talks began in 2006, but crumbled in 2008 when Kony refused to show up to the negotiations.

The LRA is spreading their terror throughout the bush in Central Africa. A large portion of the LRA resides in and operates on the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Congo is a weakened country due to their own civil wars and inner crumbling of their infrastructure. Many Congolese civilians have come under attacked by the LRA; victims have had their limbs hacked off by machetes, women have been gang raped, and children have also been abducted.

Another noticeable characteristic of the LRA is that they rarely, if ever, attack the Ugandan government. While the LRA is against the rule of the Ugandan government, they focus most of their attacks on unprotected civilians. Ugandans located in desolate countrysides are the most vulnerable to these seemingly unexplainable attacks.

To this day, the LRA is still intact. Though the international community is more involved with charities, such as Invisible Children, the LRA is keen to avoid detection. They remained scattered in the thick bush of Northern Uganda, as well as parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo, causing chaos wherever they go. In 2011, President Obama sent 100 US troops over to Uganda to help the Ugandan government capture LRA rebels. This move caused outrage with some politicians, but is being greeted with great enthusiasm from the Ugandan government and its citizens. The troops, however, are not expected to be in combat while they are serving over in Uganda.