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. Guest

    Invisible Children is an organization that I strongly support. It's goal is to help protect the woman and children that Joseph Kony abducts. Unfortuly, like many dictators, he uses a human shield.

    October 15, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  2. QueenJoe1

    Once again, (again ad again and again) the most violent person in the room is the religious one. If people kept their faith in God and abandoned the false hideous man-made lie that is organized religion, the world would be a much better place.

    October 15, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      This man's only god is himself...

      October 15, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Consider This

    The troops sure look like Zombies! That could give credence to the leader's assertion that he possesses magical powers.

    October 15, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. johnbrownraider

    Why is no one upset that our Prez is sending troops into yet another foregin war. I am interested in how this will better protect America, LRA Does not posses any threat to the US. This sounds like an African problem and should be dealt with as so. Once again American imperialism is at work.....I thought we said no more foregin wars

    October 15, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • ms3366607

      Protecting America should be the first priority for sure. But what about those who cannot protect themselves? Some would argue America has a moral obligation to help when it can.

      October 15, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • jim

      Obama has no interest in protecting America, his sole preoccupation at this point is getting reelected. He's a politician. It's what they do.........it's ALL they do.

      October 15, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • ItTakes CourageCompassion

      President Obama is being very courageous in his role as president of these United States and as leader of the free world in the fight against corruption, threat to human life, and inhumanities that are taking place in the world today. When their own governments do not come forward to help their people, the U.S., as a humanitarian country WILL!! The only factor standing in the way of even more accomplishment is the obstructionist Republicans who would rather sit on their hands and watch people Suffer and Die than step up to the plate and offer more help, instead they help the richest 1% in this country financially, posthaste. But their time is coming in 2012 when they will be Swept Out completely from office with the help of God! We must pray for that!

      October 15, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • chris

      @ courage .... Then why not help out Syria or Iran people in their suffering ? Just a thought ...

      October 15, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Kam

      Joseph Kony has been doing this for far too long. The havoc that he has wrecked on these countries have had a severe economic impact, and not to mention the untold psychological damage that has been done on the population, most notably children. It is horrific and if there is ever a war that I would support it would be this one. Boys as young as seven are encouraged to kill, sometimes their own family members. Young girls are taken as "wives" for the grown male soldiers. And that's only a small part of the atrocities they have to endure. It's horrible.

      October 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • OldCactus

      They must be our enemy, did you notice they are carrying AK47s. The great all knowing all seeing god Obama knows what is best for his children.

      October 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JoJo

    Surprise, surprise... people killing in the name of their 'Lord' and religion!

    October 15, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. Glen

    America should not interfere in other countries' affairs. However, if the African government has asked the U.S. for help to eliminate these terrorists, then we should help if we can. I am all for removing evil people from this earth. The planet is over-populated so why not get rid of the bad ones?

    October 15, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Donald

      SO why are we not in Syria, Iran, N.Korea, etc.... I'll bet you were against the Iraq war because Saddam Hussein was a model democratic leader weren't you!

      October 15, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • bonez101

      Donald, could anyone be that stupid? We are sending 100 advisers to Uganda, to go to Syria or Iran would equate a hundred thousand troops or more, in Syria's case , that would mean pitting the u.s.a against Russia. In Iran, we would need 6-12 month build up. Both of those wars would cost trillions. Again I say...we are just sending 100 advisers to Uganda so you constant blabbing "why not syria" shows a lack of education or intelligence..

      October 15, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. YES

    Finally! The U.S. has decided to help the helpless even if they have no oil! Wise decision Mr. president.. a double edged sword at best. Obama is further extending American interests on the African continent and giving a big "middle-finger" to China that has just been doing business in this mess. A new episode inAmerican imperialism that will benefit the US 10 fold.

    October 15, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Jimbo Jones

      We haven't taken a drop of oil from Iraq, and Saddam killed hundreds of thousands of his people and threw them into mass graves. I know because I helped dig them up. It's the only reason to feel good about our invasion of Iraq....I wish we fought for their oil!

      October 15, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • MaoBinHitler

      Im behind the huminitarian action in this case, but you should be aware that South Sudan(one countries the LRA has a presence in) is full of oil. Nothing like Iran or Saudi Arabia, but substantial deposits on a Nigerian scale have ben found and there could potentially be as much petroleum as in Venezuala or the US State of Texas.

      October 15, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. chris

    Wow ... Guess you do not post all comments .. and for the record there was no profanity or vulgarity in my comment. CNN is censored ... Would never believe it .... Oh wait any thing anti Obama will not be published .... The people know what our president has done and has not and should of done. 2012 will be the year for true change .

    October 15, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. DAVE R.


    October 15, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. Donald

    "It is led by Joseph Kony, who professes to have spiritual powers. He is often "underrated" as a leader,"

    replace Joseph Kony with B.O. and insert the fact the followers believe BO has spiritual powers and this story is comparable to the US.

    October 15, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe Wojciechowski

      Nobody believes Obama has supernatural powers. Your argument is fail.

      October 15, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • BT

      Not so fast Joe. Obama intentionally cultivated a messianic image when running (read Jonah Goldberg) and once elected promised to heal the planet and lower the tides. The fools who supported him believe that he can give us some kind of progressive utopia by redistributing our wealth.. Supernatural powers No! But the same departure from reality as Kony? Yeah, his policies will be just as destructive since they are based on an idealogy that has little to do with reality.

      October 15, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Kam

      No, no one believes he has supernatural powers, or is a religious leader no matter how much people on the Right want to promote that lie.

      October 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. person

    We do not belong ANYWHERE but in our own country. Let the UN take care of these things. Isn’t that what they are for? For years we meddle in other countries business instead of taking care of ourselves and it left us weak enough to have an attack on our own soil. Isolationism is something we should practice again. I am not saying that the people do not need help. I am saying it is not the U.S job to be taking care of this issue.

    October 15, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  12. paulcarswell

    I think we should all just pray that God will help our leaders make the right decisions in all things that they do and continue to keep our eyes lifted to heaven for our savior's return to defeat All evil every where in the world, because no matter how bad the world get in the end every head will bow and every knee will bend to proclaim that He is Lord....amen and peace to all.

    October 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. coder

    another god with another army – what's new

    October 15, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. TOGunslinger

    The biggest why's on the list are
    Why Uganda?
    Why Now?
    Why only 100 men?
    "It really doesn't take that many U.S. resources," Brown said.
    "You've got 100 troops to go in and take care of the LRA problem once and for all."

    IIf the plan is to "take care of" the LRA problem once and for all why are they there not to engage the LRA but only to defend themselves against an attack? If they are attacked it will be by a superior force which leaves the Americans as dead meat.
    This is another major screw up of non military "intelligence" by pogues from the rear.
    I I think it's Barry Soetero who is invading Uganda. The man who would be KING...
    If you want to take care of the problem once and for all, you invade Uganda with a serious force and you mop up

    October 15, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. the big LD

    hey prez, re-deploy the 100 to our borders in texas arizona california etc. and stop atrocity's like be-headings and street murder of innocent people right here in AMERICA

    October 15, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
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