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. SassyKwatch

    Did Obama reach this decision after visiting a MetroPlex in Bethesda? I think it's interesting that Kony and The LRA were chronicled in the new film 'Machine Gun Preacher'... coincidence?

    October 15, 2011 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  2. brothaa

    but... the lord wills it.

    how dare we tell them they are wrong, this is god's mission.

    October 15, 2011 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      By god..

      October 15, 2011 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
    • jake

      get some rope..time for old school lessons to be had...ain't nothing like seeing somebody swinging in the wind

      October 15, 2011 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Charlie

      Sam's right look what I got when I searched for Kony.

      By 1992, Kony had renamed the group United Democratic Christian Army and it was at this time that they kidnapped 44 girls from the Sacred Heart Secondary and St. Mary's girls schools.[9] Operation North was devastating to what would become the Lord's Resistance Army and with their number reduced from thousands to hundreds still engaged in retaliatory attacks on civilians and NRA collaborators
      &
      the teachers gave him a hard time because he didn't seem too bright. His father was a lay apostle of the Catholic Church and his mother was an Anglican, Kony was an altar boy for several years..

      Had it been a Muslim,,,, the media would have whipped up a TERRORIST frenzy and instead of 100 army men our president would have sent 2000 troops and a couple of Drone attacks twice a day 6 days a week for .....!!??? till the next election.. BLoody muslims......

      October 15, 2011 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
    • desert voice (troubledgoodangel or Nathanael or Voiceinthedesert)

      Christian means right, not wrong, stupid. These so-called Christians ceased to be such when they committed atrocities. This by the way goes for Moslems, as well ... and Jews.

      October 15, 2011 at 4:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Meg Griffin

      I'm going to buy a floor mirror and see what's been making all that noise.

      October 15, 2011 at 5:26 am | Report abuse |
    • InPain

      Guys.. Their lord is not Christ .. Okay.. Nor the God of the bible.. Their lord is.... You know who I am talking about...medians, spirit possession hate filled murder, mutilating women, children, old people, forcing children to do this for amusement ? Who does this sound like, Gods Christ , or someone else we know?

      October 15, 2011 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. HeroicSlug

    Hmm.. A tasking order to shoot religious people? Where do I sign up?

    October 15, 2011 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
    • jake

      amen to that

      October 15, 2011 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
    • HeroicSlug

      Lol. Plus one for irony, Jake.

      October 15, 2011 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
    • InPain

      You can sign up with Satan and the armies of the LRA.

      October 15, 2011 at 6:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. leeintulsa

    Total proliferation. Give iran nukes, too.

    Genius, and i mean that.

    Cuz i'm pretty sure i'll live through this. My kids, too. I *love* level playing fields. Keeps everyone honest.

    October 15, 2011 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      level playing field only works if both sides are rational life loving people. Iran' leaders are waiting for armmageddon, they welcome dying for their mohammed. If we give iran some nukes they will not hesitate to use them against the U.S. and Israel within 48 hours. so the only honest ones will be us.

      October 15, 2011 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
    • InPain

      Your goal is to turn innocent people into murderouse hordes ? I know that is not what you meant... Killing another person, in this case committing mass murder is not a natural act, it is not as easy as you might think. Even if you are himler, do you know how he reacted when he saw it first hand. He couldn't stand it. Himler, the architect of the nazi death camps.. You are rhoping that the innocent will be given the method to defend themselves. But from what I know first hand of the Ugandan people and all they have been through the last thing they want is more blood.. They are beyond sick of it..

      October 15, 2011 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sam

    Amazing that now where in the article did they mention that these people are Christians. If they happened to have Muslim names, article would have mentioned the word Muslim Terrorists and Islamic Terrorists at least ten times. Crusades, on the other hand, can continue....

    October 15, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      The article didn't mention they were "Christian" because they're not. Just because they are "spiritual" doesn't mean they're Christian. The LRA has long been a combination of eclectic spiritual beliefs (including devil worship). They will use whatever can help them gain power over people and swim cite fear. It's typical African syncretism-not Christianity.

      October 15, 2011 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      Sam... exactly what I was thinking.

      James... It sure sounds like you're trying to protect your own personal beliefs so I assume you're Christian? LRA might not be your particular flavor of Christianity, but the group does indeed have primarily Christian idealology. If you look up Lord's Resistance Army on Wikipedia, you will find the world "Christian" used 6 times to describe the group.

      October 15, 2011 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Nate

      There is nothing Christian about this group. You can slap a label on anything but that doesn't make it so. Christian means a follower of Christ, a teacher of non-violence and pacifism. You cannot be a member of a certain faith when you do not adhere to it's most fundamental teachings. Yes, I do realize that disqualifies a great many other groups who would call themselves Christians but beat the drums of war.

      To those who would bring up Islam. The difference is that Islam was founded by a man who was essentially a warlord, whereas Christianity was founded by a man of peace. Jesus led no armies.

      October 15, 2011 at 5:05 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jim456

    Uhh, they must have something we need! Oil, Ore, Gold? Something?

    October 15, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
    • DeatyPoo

      severed lips and ears, didn't you read?? 😉

      October 15, 2011 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
    • MissLady

      Yes they are helping America fight against al shabab in Somalia. So it makes sense that America tries to put a show that it cares by sending 100 troops.

      October 15, 2011 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
    • InPain

      The only thing they have is pain and suffering and poverty... They are innocent and helpless.. In Africa, if you have something, someone tries to kill you to take it, if you don't have anything, you can not defend yourself, so they kill you for fun.. Yes they are helping us fight the terrorist group in Somalia who have killed several of my friends there. If you knew that group and what they are like, you would want to kill them as well..

      October 15, 2011 at 6:33 am | Report abuse |
    • MissLady

      inpain u will find that everywhere in the world people committing such crimes. Stop lying about Africa! Usa is among the top countries that are have high crimes along with many developing countries! You say it is as if Africans are barbaric and like killing each other. Dude America had over 2 decades to help these people. I think the Ugandans asked for the favor because they are helping USA in somalia. Perhaps the Ugandans were wondering why the troops are sent over to Somalia and not their own land to help its people. Usa is fighting shabab because they are Muslims and want to govern by their religious laws. USA and Every democratic land is threatened by Islam and the ironic part of it is, the more these countries continue to fight them, the more it spreads. The other side is killing Somalians too but that does not count as long as they are Muslims. The war in Somalia is a war because of Islam and nothing else. America tries to have control by putting in leaders that will be for American policies. If America really cared for the suffering, they would not support neo colonialism in a certain place of the world. But that's ok because they are not christians. Let the USA stop invading lands and stop helping occupation in other lands, perhaps we shall see some world peace. When will Americans wake up and see the reality of what is going on. So much injustice in this world!

      October 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. half-minute man

    Roy Stewart Moore, an American jurist and Republican politician noted for his refusal, as the elected Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the state courthouse despite orders to do so from a federal judge (2003). Well, he has announced that he is forming an exploratory committee to run in the Republican presidential primaries in 2012. I know that we are having to fight the contamination of Sharia Law in our courts because I hear it on Fox and from Rush. So it would follow that Moore could he be a home grown follower of the Lord's Resistance Army. Somebody needs to be checking his hard drive and passport.

    October 15, 2011 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. ashrakay

    More killing in god's name. Religion attracts nutters.

    October 15, 2011 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
    • André

      Religion poisons everything.

      October 15, 2011 at 4:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Jamess

      religion = ignorance
      ignorance = seed to all problems

      poor + ignorance = Al quada and the alike.

      October 15, 2011 at 5:40 am | Report abuse |
    • InPain

      Okay, fair enough ... Y are correct.. This guy has set himself up as a lord which should be obeyed without question. In that sense he is religouse. In a sick warped way.. Following blindly without denser meant against the word of God. The God of the bible leads to .. Well more than al Qaeda it leads to evil... You are correct..

      October 15, 2011 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. Justin

    My aunt and uncle were missionaries in uganda, and were killed by this group. It is about time that we send some support to stop the horrendous atrocities that this group has committed against the people of this region. Thank you Mr. president, no matter how few the numbers, the help is needed!

    October 15, 2011 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
    • InPain

      Justin. I am sorry.. I hope America send more than 100 . I hope we blast them back to hell...I have been working with Uganda for many years now, they are some of the finest people I have ever met..

      October 15, 2011 at 6:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. Greg

    "What is the Lord's Resistance Army?"

    A diehard bunch of Traci Lords fans.

    October 15, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  11. ThinkLessDoMore

    So what, people die, get over it. U will I will they will, Game over man.

    Celebrate the life your living while you have it.

    October 15, 2011 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
  12. Lee

    The group has been accused of ....."killing civilians, including women and children". So somehow it's ok so long as the civilians being killed are men? I agree we need to hunt the animals down and it's about time we did something about it. This is what we should have been doing instead of attacking Libya. This and trying to save the lives of hundreds of thousands in Sudan

    October 15, 2011 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
  13. xpxpxp

    Nowhere did it say the word "Christian." Shocking, simply shocking. I am being sarcastic. At least call it like it is. This is a religious group operating in countries that are overwhelmingly Christian. And by overwhelmingly I mean they have a higher percent of their population Christian than the US. A Muslim commits a crime and is labeled as a terrorist killing in the name of Allah. This group, yet Christian, does similar crimes and no mention of which religion they follow or labeling them as terrorists?

    October 15, 2011 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. Charlie

    Sam's right look what I got when I searched for Kony.

    By 1992, Kony had renamed the group United Democratic Christian Army and it was at this time that they kidnapped 44 girls from the Sacred Heart Secondary and St. Mary's girls schools.[9] Operation North was devastating to what would become the Lord's Resistance Army and with their number reduced from thousands to hundreds still engaged in retaliatory attacks on civilians and NRA collaborators
    &
    the teachers gave him a hard time because he didn't seem too bright. His father was a lay apostle of the Catholic Church and his mother was an Anglican, Kony was an altar boy for several years..

    Had it been a Muslim,,,, the media would have whipped up a TERRORIST frenzy and instead of 100 army men our president would have sent 2000 troops and a couple of Drone attacks twice a day 6 days a week for .....!!??? till the next election.. BLoody muslims......

    October 15, 2011 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jim McDonald

    This group protecting is protecting Christians from the muslim slavery & tyranny the MSM will not report. That obama picks the side against Christians is expected.

    October 15, 2011 at 4:07 am | Report abuse |
    • SassyKwatch

      Actually, they are not Christian at all, that's just a name they chose. They massacre and enslave innocent people by the thousands. Go see the film 'Machine Gun Preacher'. It's a true story of Rev. Sam Childers who has fought against the LRA for 25 years.

      October 15, 2011 at 4:35 am | Report abuse |
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