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. desert voice (troubledgoodangel or Nathanael or Voiceinthedesert)

    I just hope the we won't need another "extrication" of the troops, like in Entebbe, or the "Black Hawk" experience, as in Somalia. The force of this sort, by its very nature, must be all Black. But are there enough Black elite commandos? If not, the whites should be painted black, which the liberal cry babies call "inadmissible." In short, this this enterprise is spiked with "political" and "ethnic" ramifications.

    October 15, 2011 at 4:45 am | Report abuse |
    • SassyKwatch

      Entebbe was an Israeli commando operation to free passengers of a highjacked airliner. They were in and out with only a single Israeli casualty (Benjamin Nethanyahu's brother as it turns out...). All the hijackers, three hostages and 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed, and thirty Soviet-built MiG-17s and MiG-21s of Uganda's air force were destroyed. A fourth hostage was killed by Ugandan army officers at a nearby hospital.

      October 15, 2011 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Blaise Pascal

    Where do they get their uniforms–Old Navy?

    October 15, 2011 at 5:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Ugabooga

      Looks like they shop at Target.

      October 15, 2011 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
    • William Gnest

      Who is stupid here? Americans only see the clothes on soldiers and not the terrible issue? NO wander our nation is considered brain dead by people overseas!

      October 15, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. STR

    Here we go again.
    We have lost enough troups and are in a giant deficit.
    We cannot aford to be the police for the rest of the world.

    Like the muslim terorrists, these people are crazy.
    Moral common sense does not make sense to brainwashed terrorists and their power hungry leaders.

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

      I agree with you 100%. We should not be policing the world nor in the middle east for that matter. However, this is something I can get behind. These kind of acts by people need to be eliminated. Unfortunately its been ignored by the US (probably because they are not sitting on a large oil reserve).

      October 15, 2011 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
    • wrrhodes

      If only w could send Obama and all of his people there to do the fighting instead of sending our troops & money. This will turn out to be another Black Hawk Down Democratic party fiasco.

      October 15, 2011 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Severinus

      Obama sends 100 troops to fight a cruel and ruthless terror group and the righties are suddenly pacifists. It's really very hypocritical after starting two major wars against two countries that never attacked us.

      October 15, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • TheReasonableRight

      To wrrhodes – Or like the republican party fiasco in Iraq

      October 15, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ugabooga

    Now we're chasing warlords in Africa again. And I thought Obozo said he wouldn't get us into anymore dumb wars.

    Is it 2012 yet?

    October 15, 2011 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
    • gjp

      100 Soldiers is hardly a war. Elect a Repub and we will only increase the number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and wherever the Defense Industry wants to go in order to rip off the American public. Exactly like what happened in Iraq.

      October 15, 2011 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Sam A.


      Its 100 soldiers for now. Wait until they get there and get involved and then they will needs hundreds of soldiers to offer protection and backup.

      October 15, 2011 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
    • karlheiz

      Obozo lies every other breath-

      October 15, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • blah blah blah

      this is funny! Obozo I support Obama but I had to laugh at Obozo I think I will use that!

      October 15, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. Winston5

    Unlike Iraq, this at least has a purpose. Bravo.

    October 15, 2011 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. boyamidumb

    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

    Isn't this exactly what the U.N. is supposed to do???

    We're broke. Taking away benefits from our own people who paid for them with our taxes. Watching our infrastructure fall apart and the new white collar criminals take over. STOP. Or THE PEOPLE WILL STOP YOU – not just talking about you Mr. President, but the entire "leadership" strucutre. If you are not hearing the message of "Occupy" open your ears.

    October 15, 2011 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. John

    This conflict has been raging for many years with almost no exposure to the outside world. Thousands of children have been abducted and forced to fight, robbing them of their childhood and forcing them to witness/perform atrocities we couldn't imagine. This is truly a win for American idealism as all of this came as a result of Invisible Children, a non-profit started my 3 guys who saw a problem and wanted to change it. Their dedication brought about the act that was signed at the end of '09. Thank you govt for following through with your promise!

    October 15, 2011 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Liutgard

      If it were just the usual bunch of thugs, I might feel differently. But they kidnap CHILDREN and force them to fight. Kids who ought to be playing soccer and learning long division. Kids still losing baby teeth. What I'd like to know is, why weren't we in there sooner? Like, 10, 15 years ago when we first heard about them?

      October 15, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. tammi

    so some how us troops are more equipped in hunting down a local man in a jungle of a foreign land than those who live in this jungle? If its just weapons that are needed why not send those? I can not see how 100 soldiers or troops, even if they are special forces can have better knowledge than those military men from that country.

    October 15, 2011 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. JustPlainJoe

    An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    Africa is the next hotbed of "enthusiastic" anti-American interests.

    October 15, 2011 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. CJ

    My problem with this is I see no request for Congressional Approval for this move. He is doing it on his own, Where are the checks and balances of our system?

    October 15, 2011 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      it isnt an act of war...

      October 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. WHY NOW

    WE've all been hearing Uganda's LRA terorizing the Southern Sudan and northern UG folks since 70's. The LRA has been weakened and no longer such a major threat that a combined EAST AFRICA'S military cant wipe them out in a month.
    WHY NOW send in the military??? Because the New Southern Sudan sits on a major Oil Reserve and fighting people's problem to gain their trust is how we entered Somalia in the first place.
    OAU should be the ones helping out here and in Libya unless of course its of our interest to do so

    October 15, 2011 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    Now that 0bama is CIC he certainly enjoys playing "army".

    October 15, 2011 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Youre Right

      You bet and rightfully so! He is a Protector of the world in his role and fights to end what's wrong and harmful to the peoples of the world! God Bless him for that!!

      October 15, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. requiem

    This has to be a mistake! There is no way for 5x draft-dodger Cheney WarBux's Halliburton to cheat the American people out of hundreds of billions of dollars in this operation. So it must be a mistake! You people who whine about Obama "playing soldier" were awfully quiet about invading Iraq...When Halliburton farts, do your ears pop?

    October 15, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. Peaceful Guy

    @Aaron We didn't send troops to Libya because they asked us to stay out. Do research before you form an opinion 🙂 That's what smart people do.

    October 15, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. Me

    Funny how the fact that this is a Islamic militant group is conveniently left out of the article. Guess trying not to offend anyone, but yet the media absolutely makes sure to associate Westboro Baptist with Christians. Westboro is not even close to living and walking a Christian lifestyle with their hate speech. Demand unbiase, accurate truth in reporting!

    October 15, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
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