Lord's Resistance Army
The notorious Lord's Resistance Army is a sectarian Christian militant group
that was historically based in northern Uganda, but who carried out atrocities across many African countries including Sudan, Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo. For two decades the Lord's Resistance Army had
inflicted terror across northern Uganda raiding villages,
abducting some 60,000 and displacing 1.8 million of the
Today the group's leader, Joseph Kony and most of the LRA are
based in the Congo and their raids are mainly in Republic of South
Sudan, North-East Congo and the Central African Republic.
As such, the Ugandan People's Defense Forces (UDPF) numbers have
dwindled as Uganda no longer sees the LRA as a significant threat
to the country. However this belief is not shared by others with
Commander General Carter F. Ham of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM),
who recently stated that there is “a lot of work yet to do.”
The group was founded in 1987 and engaged in an armed rebellion against the Ugandan government in what
was one of Africa's longest-running conflicts. It is led by Joseph Kony, a former alter boy, who proclaims himself the "spokesperson" of God and a spirit medium, primarily of the Holy Spirit.
In an interview in June 2007 the then second in command Vincent Otti stated "Lord’s Resistance Army is just the name of the movement, because we are fighting in the name of God. God is the one helping us in the bush. That’s why we created this name, Lord’s Resistance Army. And people always ask us, are we fighting for the [biblical] Ten Commandments of God. That is true – because the Ten Commandments of God is the constitution that God has given to the people of the world. All people. If you go to the constitution, nobody will accept people who steal, nobody could accept to go and take somebody’s wife, nobody could accept to innocently kill, or whatever. The Ten Commandments carries all this." However a USA funded report of the same year concluded "the LRA has no political program or ideology, at least none that the local population has heard or can understand."
It is believed that the Lord's Resistance army numbers between 500-3000 people
including women and children, and in fact most of the army's soldiers are
children, abducted from their families and forced into conflict. In the northern
districts of Uganda, almost every family in the Acholi and now Langi area has
been affected (see chart above right.) Many families have lost a child through
abduction or their village was attacked and destroyed, families burned out
and/or killed, and harvests destroyed by an army of abducted children. It is
estimated that since the Lord's Resistance Army's inception, 10,000 boys and
girls have been kidnapped by the army and forced into war, with very high
The barbaric activity of the Lord's Resistance Army led to tens of thousands of
children fleeing the potential violence in villages in the north
into the perceived relative safety of urban areas. At one point
40,000 of these 'night commuters' would walk miles every night
to seek sanctuary returning home each morning. These children
would sleep under cars, buses or on business verandas then at
daybreak, hungry and dishevelled would walk back to their
villages for another day at school.
The alternative was the sheer terror of the risk of being
abducted, forcibly enlisted into the Lord's Resistance Army and indoctrinated into
the cause, with many told to murder their own parents. Without
parents they then have no-one to turn to, and the Lord's Resistance Army became
their only source of support.