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The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) Insurgency

(1987-Present)

The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) Insurgency

(1987-Present)

Joseph Kony Lord's Resistance Army

LRA leader Joseph Kony (in white shirt)

 

The insurgency of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) of Joseph Kony against the government of Uganda began in 1987 in the aftermath of the failed Holy Spirit Movement Rebellion of Alice Auma (also known as Alice Lakwena). After the Holy Spirit Movement lost a major battle against the Ugandan government at th ebattle of Jinja, Alice Auma fled to Kenya while Joseph Kony emerged as the leader of the remaining rebel forces. With Kony's assumption of power came a shift in the rebels' strategy and a new name: the Lord's Resistance Army. Kony declared himself to be a prophet, emerging as a "Spirit Guide," and inspired his rebel troops to fight the Ugandan government.

Kony's beliefs (or tactics) emerged from a twisted understanding of Christian and local spiritualist pagan beliefs. His Lord's Resistance Army is as much a cult as it is a military force. The LRA insurgency gained control of most of northern Uganda, with significan aid from the government of Sudan, which was in conflict with the Ugandan government.

In line with the cult-like beliefs of the Lord's Resistance Army, Kony's forces exhibited incredible brutality on the civilian populations they encountered. Women would be raped, children kidnapped and forced to join the LRA as "child soldiers," anyone who broke the the arcane rules of the LRA would have their hands or other limbs cut off.

In 2005, Kony was indicted by the International Criminal Court for leading the LRA in a campaign of "murder, abduction, sexual enslavement, mutilation, as well as mass burnings of houses and looting of camp settlements"during his insurgency, and for personally ordering his troops to target and kill civilian populations.

Over the years, repeated Ugandan military offensives reclaimed most of the territory controlled by the Lord's Resistance Army.

As his control over northern Uganda waned, Kony led his dwindling army through the borderlands of Uganda, southern Sudan, the Congo, and the Central African Repbublic. Everywhere he travelled, his men killed, raped, pillaged, and looted civilian populations. In October, 2011, American President Barack Obama announced that 100 "combat-ready" American Special Forces troops were joining with the Ugandan military to hunt down Kony and bring him to justice. Kony has not been a factor in northern Uganda for several years.

By the beginning of December, 2011, the American Special Forces troops were on the ground in the southeastern Central African Republic town of Obo. The U.S. government continued to state that they were not going to engage in combat, but were training and aiding the local military forces hunting down the LRA.

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Joseph Kony

Joseph Kony, leader of the LRA, and target of the #Kony2012 campaign

In March, 2012, a YouTube video highlighting the crimes of Joseph Kony went viral, with users posting the #Kony2012 hashtag on twitter and other social media to draw attention to Kony's crimes as the head of the LRA. The Kony 2012video is a film and campaign by Invisible Children whose goal it is to make Joseph Kony famous, or rather, infamous, in order to raise internatioal support for his arrest and to set a precedent for international justice. Critics of Invisible Children and the Kony 2012 campaign point to several factual errors or ommissions in the video. The video states that Kony currently has an army of some 30,000 child warriors, and that is not true. After the Ugandan Army drove the LRA out of northern Uganda in 2006, Kony's army has dwindled. Experts now believe that Joseph Kony has only a few hundred fighters still with him. Also, Kony and the LRA have not haunted northern Uganda since being driven out by the Ugandan Army in a 2006 military offensive. Invisible Children argues in favor of international military intervention in bringing Kony to justice. and is raising funds that go for direct support of the Ugandan military. While Kony's forces have engaged in heinous war crimes for decades, it should be pointed out that the Ugandan military is also accused of criminal behavior, including rape and murder.

 

 

 

 

Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) Insurgency Sources and Links:

 Lord's Resistance Army --Wikipedia article

Holy Spirit Movement--Wikipedia article

Profile: Joseph Kony--Profile of Joseph Kony from al-Jazeera

Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate Regarding the Lord's Resistance Army--from White House.gov

 

US: No Combat Role for Troops in Uganda--Voice of America, Dec. 8, 2011

U.S. commandos fan out in remote Africa to help find brutal rebels--Miami Herald, Dec. 7, 2011

 

 

 

 

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Additional Info

Impact of the Lord's Resistance Army on Children

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DATES OF CONFLICT:

BEGAN: 1987--Joseph Kony led a rebel faction that evolved out of Alice Auma's Holy Spirit Movement rebellion against the Ugandan government, and called it the Lord's Resistance Army.

American Intervention Began: October 12, 2011

ENDED: Ongoing

 

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