What is the Lord's Resistance Army?
Members of the Lord's Resistance Army stand guard in November 2008.
October 14th, 2011
03:17 PM ET

What is the Lord's Resistance Army?

The Lord's Resistance Army, formed in the late 1980s, is a sectarian military and religious group that operates in northern Uganda and South Sudan. It has committed numerous abuses and atrocities such as abducting, raping, maiming and killing civilians, including women and children, according to globalsecurity.org. Its members are known for hacking off the lips and ears of their victims, looting villages and burning huts, and stealing clothes and medicine from the communities they terrorize, CNN has reported.

On Friday, President Barack Obama announced that he is sending about 100 U.S. troops to Africa to help hunt down the group's leaders.

The Lord's Resistance Army has sought to overthrow the Ugandan government and has contributed to instability across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.

It is led by Joseph Kony, who professes to have spiritual powers. He is often "underrated" as a leader, according to a 2011 Jane's report on the group. Kony has claimed to be possessed by spirits who dictate the group's strategy. Jane's notes that the tactic has served him well, enabling him to speak to followers who have mixed beliefs. By portraying himself as a medium with supernatural abilities, his authority becomes harder to question within the ranks.

U.S. military personnel will advise regional forces working to target Kony and other senior leaders. The president said the troops will not engage Kony's forces "unless necessary for self-defense."

The Lord's Resistance Army is sophisticated and less like the ragtag group of fighters it is sometimes portrayed as, Jane's says. It has benefited from the military experience of former Ugandan military officers and years of combat in Sudan.

International aid convoys and non-government organizations operating in the region have been threatened by the Lord's Resistance Army, according to numerous reports. Human Rights Watch, in a letter released in May, urged the U.S. government to step up its effort to protect people from the group.

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Filed under: Africa • Democratic Republic of Congo • South Sudan • Uganda • World
soundoff (291 Responses)
  1. yannaes

    All Osama Bin Ladin Obama has to do is find his Uncle.

    October 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Saved

    Alarm bell,.. alarm bells !!!! Kony has been operating in that region for about 25 years now. He has seldom been mentioned by western media and no western country has ever taken the initiative to help Uganda tackle him. All over a sudden now he is a big problem. Could it be because Uganda just recently discovered that it is sitting a vast amount of oil resources ? I wonder ... Oil can be the worst curse to happen to a country.

    October 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      There are tired huddled masses yearning to breath free over there. The fact that they are on oil fields is strictly coincidental.

      Our mission is clear. We must liberate the oil.. uh, I mean people and bring peace to the region. Exon will take that piece over there.....

      October 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • chrisy

      your 110 percent right 'saved'. its or about the oil, this uganda group wont share thier oil.
      Just like the arab countries that wont share thier oil so they get invaded and forced to share the oil.
      Now get ready for the oil apocalypes!! china and russia are not stupid, now i wouldnt want the US to hog all the oil if i was china or russia. oil and distruction is what the USA wants, israel and america are the last ANTICHRIST!!

      October 15, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Finally

      Saved, the entire continent of Africa sits on deposits oil along with its many other valuable minerals, resources and commodities! Why do you think so many foreigners (europeans, and arabs) continue to impose their religious beliefs (christianity and Islam,) on the natually rich, but naive african people?

      Thank you Mr. President for finally stepping in to help out the motherland.

      October 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Obama

    We can't afford another war. Obama is just blowing smoke to hide his economic disaster. The LRA has been doing this stuff for decades along with any number of other African dictators. Hell, Obama's own grandafther was a Kenyan Mao Mao terrorist who used to cut up little British girls in the middle of the night.

    October 15, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Finally

      Obama, so why where little British girls in Kenya anyway? F***ing racist liar.

      October 16, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. M D Powers

    He is no Christian, yet so many believers in United States and around the world have the same mindset. They too believe that they are Christians but they wouldn't follow Christ with a ten foot pole hanging ten dollars at the end, and leash around their necks.


    October 15, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. adiposetissue

    I wonder whos spirit is that

    October 15, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. SoldierOfFortunes

    Where is the Zulu Tribes in all this...possessed by spirits...Zulu would kill him like the dumb dog he is...

    October 16, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ted

    Stay out,sorous can rent his own army to protect his oil!!

    October 16, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JM

    Oil or not, I'm glad something's being done. Watch this and see if you still care. http://vimeo.com/22427508

    October 18, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. The Mumble of Sanity

    As much as Kony is the embodiment of evil, there are still reasons why we are in Uganda beyond humanitari­an ones (No, we are not invading). It's hardly conspirato­rial to link all of this back to Somalia, where the conflict could easily be characteri­zed as a proxy war with US interests and Ugandan men. Here"s an article from the Harvard Political review that discusses this: http://hpr­online.org­/world/the­-art-of-mi­sdirection­-behind-tw­o-interven­tions-in-e­ast-africa­/

    October 19, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Natasha

    This is fantastic. The LRA has been abducting children throughout the northern regions and other parts of Uganda for several years. Joseph Kony, the leader of the LRA, has been forcing children to become soldiers and commit horrendous actions against the people of Uganda. The organization Invisible Children has spread awareness of Kony's atrocities and helped Congress to sign a bill two years ago regarding the hunt for Kony. It is about time we do something!

    October 19, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. redman83

    Awesome. 100 of our finest is MORE than enough to take out these rookies. They need to fight a real military instead of terrorizing villages. I give their "Army" less than 6 months before it implodes.

    November 5, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Marilou

    Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.

    Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the way,
    how can we communicate?

    April 14, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
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