The Lord’s Resistance ArmyPresented By: Max Johnson and Olivia Koski
Situation• The LRA, or Lord’s Resistance Army, is a religious extremist group located in northern Uganda, south Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic.• Their mission initially was to rebel against the central Ugandan government, due to marginalization on the Acholi people to help improve the lives of south Ugandan ethnic groups.• The LRA was originally founded by Alice Lakwena in 1986. She believed that the Acholi people could overthrow the Ugandan president, Museveni.• Now, their main goal is to form a theocratic state, or a state governed by divine rights and rulings, based on the Ten Commandments and the Acholi tradition.
Alice LakwenaLeader of the Holy Spirit Movement, which then branched into the LRA.
Acholi PeopleAcholi civilians at an IDP camp (internally displaced person) located in Uganda.
Joseph Kony• Joseph Kony began to form the Lord’s Resistance Army, or the LRA, loosely based off of the teachings of Alice Lakwena. Unlike Lakwena, Joseph Kony believe in the use of violence as a means to achieve their goal.• Lakwena made it very clear that she was in no way affiliated with Joseph Kony, and she believed that the spirit did not want them to kill civilians.• Kony tried to compare himself to Lakwena to gain followers, and even went as far as to say that they were cousins.• On April 1, 1987, after claiming that he had been possessed by spirits and became a spiritual medium, Kony gained many followers in his local village of Odek.• A few days later, Kony recruited members of the Uganda National Liberation Front, and then managed to carry out a raid on the Ugandan city of Gulu.
Kony Gains Power• In 1988, after the Holy Spirit Movement was defeated, Kony took this opportunity to recruit an remnants of the party into the LRA.• The LRA began to attack civilian villages in order to gain supplies and to recruit soldiers.• In the mid-1990’s, the LRA gained the support of the Sudanese government as a form of retaliation against the Ugandan government. This allowed the LRA to strengthen and grow.• Since then, the LRA has lost any sense of purpose and has continued attacking villages, plundering their goods, and stealing their children to be used as child soldiers. LRA soldiers continue to rape, mutilate, and kill many civilians across Southern Uganda and other parts of Africa.• It is estimated that the LRA has caused the displacement of 95% of the Acholi people. Approximately 60,000-100,000 child soldiers have been taken, and approximately 100,000 civilians have been displaced.
The LRAJoseph Kony (Center), leader of the LRA, surrounded by his officers.
What Can Be Done?• The U.S. government has ignored this issue for quite some time. It was only just recently brought to the media’s attention when it was popularized by the Kony 2012 Movement.• Since then, local support in the U.S. has risen and on May 12, 2012, LRA Commander Caeser Achellam was captured. This was a significant milestone in the fight against the LRA, but more can be done.• We propose that the U.S., Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sudan governments place many small infantry units around the most affected areas by the LRA. Their main job would not be to seek out the LRA as has been previously attempted, but merely to stop the LRA from continuing to attack villages. If the village were to be attacked by the LRA, they would be ready to defend the civilians and capture any LRA members involved.• Although this method will take time, it is one of very few methods that has not been tried yet.
What Can Be Done?• Another possible option would be for the previously stated countries to supply local villages with firearms and teach them how to use them. This would allow soldiers to aid many more villages than the previous method of being stationed in only one village.• Possible cons involved in this method is that the civilians may not be able to affectively use these firearms in a moment of need, and if captured, they would be supplying the LRA with more firearms.• This method is, however, better than sitting back and doing nothing about. Whatever the case is, we need to continue to send help to Uganda and other affected African countries. The LRA will not stop on their own; they need someone to intervene.
Child Soldier Rehabilitation• In several areas in South Africa, child soldier rehabilitation centers are being set-up. This is a great effort to aid the people that are probably the most affected by the LRA.• These child soldiers, many whom have had to kill their own family, have been through so much and this effort is the first step in transforming Africa into a more peaceful country.• This next video will explain more about these Child Rehabilitation Centers.