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. Why Do We Care

    So how pray tell did this become an American issue worth putting American lives at risk for?? All American troops over there will do is become a target and we do not have money to waste on crap like this. It's the Uganda and the Congo they have been killing each other since before we were a country, sending 100 troops is just political, not likely to be effective and dangerous. Just find the guy's camp and ice him with a surgical strike from a drone if you need to do something but don't put our troops in harms way over there.

    October 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pdrummer

      Can you read? It clearly states "ADVISING."

      October 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat carr

      Agreed. There is never enough money in our budget but always to send troops everywhere all over the world. I am sick to death of it

      October 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Why Do We Care

      Who are you kidding or smoking, we were advising in Nam also... They capture an advisor or three and now what? If you are going to train that is fine but don't do it in the line of fire.

      October 14, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pdrummer

      The scale of the army in Vietnam was much larger and had the backing of various Communist countries. South Sudan and Uganda aren't in a massive civil war like Vietnam. The reason we went to fight in Vietnam are because we didn't want the communists to gain control. There is no "communist threat" from the LRA. You're a fool if you think this is ANYTHING like Vietnam.

      October 14, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat carr

      all america's wars start out as "advising". I have no problem if we want to play World Cop but then we shouldn't pretend we have budget problems

      October 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rosa Colman

    The Lord's Resistance Army has been abducting children and killing civilians for the past 25 years. The move that Obama just made is going to contribute substantially to the capture of Joseph Kony, the ending of this war, and the rescue of the child soldiers.

    For more information about the LRA and what they are doing right now, watch these videos:

    http://vimeo.com/28628155

    http://vimeo.com/28471215

    October 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Slapnuts

    good job. lets get this nut before he get out of control.. deal with him now so we want have to deal with him later.

    October 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Why Do We Care

      He have been there over 20 years, he is not a threat to the America in any way, he does not have a Nuke, he does not hijack planes and he does not even use poison gas. He is simply a minor gang of armed thugs in Deepest Darkest Africa. Nothing good is going to come of this...just another Obama trying to look like a world savor and wasting US lives and taxes. If you want to fix something go fix Mexico Drug Dealers, they are a real threat to our security!!!

      October 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dan, TX

    Question: do we care if Africans are being tortured and killed by terrorists and if these terroists are threatening to do the same to Americans working in aid organizations? If so, then this is OK but Congress needs to agree to this. We also should have Congress vote NOW on whether to bring troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq. Why leave these decisions to the President?

    October 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gwen

      The article clearly states that Congress agreed to do something several years ago. The fact that we are putting boots on the ground now means that there is actionable intelligence. It is time. The type of terror that the LRA is perpetrating is akin to that of the Nazis. This is not a bomb or a gun of modern "terror" attacks but personal attacks were the victim is forced to look into the eyes of the monster torturing them. Reintegration may be unachievable in this case. Perhaps the Rwandans can advise as they have recent experience in reintegrating these types of attackers into decent society.

      October 14, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. American

    I guess he is just the Man who stared at goats. scary

    October 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. fernace

    Since we have 1 of the strongest, well appointed armed forces on the planet, why shouldn't we go after these monsters who have rampaged with little resistance for years! If Bush & crew had an ounce of consideration, besides lining their own pockets, they could have also sent troops to various attrocities that happened on their watch, such as the genocide in Darfur, for ex.! Obama is not unilaterally starting wars because he's the "decider!" He & his advisers are carefully selecting where to send help to those who ask for it & to our allies! It always has been 1 of the jobs the Potus has to accomplish! This president does it with consideration of his fellow humans & his countrys security, not his wallet!

    October 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MadAsAMoose

    Just lend me a drone for a few days. Problem solved. 🙂

    October 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jed

    They need to send the Occupy Wall Street protesters over there to fight them. That would be fun to watch. There would just be a bunch of dead hippies then.

    October 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat carr

      They should send you too and it would be no big loss

      October 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mejazzbo

    If you are interested go see "Machinegun Preacher" in theaters now. It is all about one American's efforts against the LRA in South Sudan.

    October 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jerry

    The first step to WAR.... like when JFK sent "more " advisors in to Vietnam...then LBJ turned it into a war...then over 57k dead Americans and a million dead Vietnamese. BO has to go.

    October 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mark t

    I know these africans might be doing bad things, but look at all the nasty flea ridden communist hippy protesters in this so called occupy wallstreet movement. Our troops should be used here to fight against these dirty protesters.

    October 14, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. E=MC2

    It is amazing that Obama had the audacity to criticize Bush for Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq has it's MAIN orgin in the Iraqi army first invading Kuwait. The Afghanistan war was a response to 9/11 after the Bush administration tld the Taliban to turn over the Al Qaeda leaders or face consequnces for harboring them. Both had justifiable beginings. Yet Obama criticized Bush! Well lets see: Obama stayed in Iraq and did NOT withdraw as stated. Obama ordered a surge in Afghanistan. Obama unilaterally committed U.S. forces to strike Libya. Obama sent U.S special forces into Pakistan and repeated, far more than Bush, used drones to launch missle strikes in sovereign nations! Now Obama, who remember is all for peace baby, is sending troops to Africa? Didn't we send advisors under another Democratic administration to Vietnam? That was a good idea wasn't it! Wait I thought the Republicans were the war mongers! Goes to show you how wrong one can be. With so many military engagements we need to make Obama a honorary Colonel in the Army. I am so glad we have a war fighting President like Obama instead of some two bit war President like Bush! Sarcasm people!

    October 14, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dumiqua

      If you don't got the gov check these things happen, here come
      the UAW and SEIU

      October 14, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pdrummer

    Clearly says that the 100 troops being sent are there to advise. Why is everyone freaking out...?

    October 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • E=MC2

      so your telling me you dont see a pattern developing with Obama? We didnt send that many advisors into Vietnam at first and that was to fight an army of hundreds of thousands. Now Obama wants to send far more troops to help "cature" the leader of a ragtag, although dangerous group of nuts? Remeber the good old days of criticizing Bush? Well it looks like we ned to tear down those old posters as we now have a new poster child in Presidente Obama! Obama has used more power against nations than even Reagan did! Wake up!

      October 14, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pdrummer

      Never really criticized Bush because I felt those wars were justified. I didn't feel we should have gone to Libya at all. But this is nothing like Vietnam. Copy pasted a previous comment of mine below.

      The scale of the army in Vietnam was much larger and had the backing of various Communist countries. South Sudan and Uganda aren't in a massive civil war like Vietnam. The reason we went to fight in Vietnam are because we didn't want the communists to gain control. There is no "communist threat" from the LRA.

      October 14, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DHoffman

    Lend you a drone, problem solved? They all look alike over there! You're going to need a handful of drones to start with...

    October 14, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. fernace

    @ Dan TX, where have you been the last 6 months? We Are bringing troops home from both Afghanistan & Iraq! Several thousand have come home & more on the way! But we can't just bring them home in 1 fell swoop! It's a delicate military operation that takes time, so as not to upset the precarious balance we've won so far! Also, do you really want congress to vote on anything these days!? With the GOP-TP in majority the answer is NO! To everything! "Your pants are on fire, I vote for a fire extinguisher! NO!!" C'mon fellow Texan, you should know this by now!!

    October 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • E=MC2

      The issue is Obama campaigned on getting our troops out promptly. After 3 YEARS he is starting to. Keeping them there was a good thing and to take them out slowly. the problem is, Obama criticised Bush so much, yet he is facing the same tough choices Bush did. I'm glad he is doing things to fight terrorism even if he goes into Pakistan or Yemen or Uganda now. the problem is, all the liberals use to demonise Bush for doing such things, but it's Okee Dokee if you are a Democrat. Do you understand the hypocracy? Obama did not represent change, he represented a well played out con job on the American public who now, is waking up and seeing what an incompetant leader he is. The Obama admistration will be remembered as the great experiment that gave disasterous results. Hey, we learn from our mistakes.

      October 14, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
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