Joseph Kony is the leader of the The Lord's Resistance Army (also Lord's Resistance Movement or Lakwena Part Two). Kony proclaims himself the spokesperson of God and a spirit medium, primarily of the Holy Spirit, which the group believes can represent itself in many manifestations. Ideologically, the group is a syncretic mix of of mysticism, Acholi tribal nationalism, and Christianity, and claims to be establishing a theocratic state based on the Ten Commandments and local Acholi tradition.
The Lord's Resistance Army is a militant group that was formed in 1987 in the Acholi ethnic region of Northern Uganda. Initially, the LRA was an outgrowth and continuation of the larger armed resistance movement waged by some of the Acholi people against a central Ugandan government which they felt marginalized them at the expense of Southern Ugandan ethnic groups, such as the Baganda. The group operates in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
The LRA is accused of widespread human rights violations, including murder, abduction, mutilation, and forcing children to participate in hostilities. There have also been reports of cannibalism and child-sex slavery within the group.
A report on one of the LRA's brutal terror campaigns in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
ESTIMATED TROOP STRENGTH:
In 2007, the government of Uganda claimed that the LRA had only 500 or 1,000 soldiers in total, but other sources estimated that there could have been as many as 3,000 soldiers, along with about 1,500 women and children. By 2011, unofficial estimates were in the range of 300 to 400 combatants, with more than half believed to be abductees. The bulk of the soldiers fighting for the LRA are children. According to Livingstone Sewanyana, executive director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Yoweri Museveni was the first to use child soldiers in this conflict. Since the LRA first started fighting in 1987 they may have forced well over 10,000 boys and girls into combat, often killing family, neighbors and school teachers in the process.
Many of these children were put on the front lines so the casualty rate for these children has been high. They have often used children to fight because they are easy to replace by raiding schools or villages. The soldiers are organized into independent squads of 10 or 20 soldiers. Sudan has provided military assistance to the LRA, in response to Uganda lending military support to the Sudan People's Liberation Army.
UNITED STATES INVOLVEMENT:
In May 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, legislation aimed at stopping Joseph Kony and the LRA. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate on 11 March 2010 with 65 senators as cosponsors, then passed unanimously in the House of Representatives on 13 May 2010 with 202 representatives as cosponsors.
On 24 November 2010, Obama delivered a strategy document to Congress, asking for more money to disarm Kony and the LRA.
On 14 October 2011, President Obama announced that he had ordered the deployment of 100 US military advisors (with a mandate to train, assist and provide intelligence) to help combat the Lord's Resistance Army. It has been reported that the bulk of the troops are from the Army Special Forces. Obama said that the deployment did not need explicit approval from Congress, as the 2010 Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act already authorized "increased, comprehensive U.S. efforts to help mitigate and eliminate the threat posed by the LRA to civilians and regional stability". The military advisors will be armed, and will provide assistance and advice, but "will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense". The advisers will operate in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, subject to approval by those states. The military advisors will not operate independently of the host states. Human Rights Watch welcomed the deployment, which they had previously advocated for. General Carter Ham, the head of US Africa Command, said that his best estimate was that Joseph Kony was probably in the Central African Republic, not located in Uganda.
The LRA are a scary bunch of brainwashed central Africans led by a mad man who is conducting a Reign of Terror over the region. I came across a fantastic website: LRACrisisTracker.org These folks are doing amazing work assembling critical information and attempting to spread the word.
Flag of the Lord's Resistance Army
Today's Bird HERE