Impact of The Lords Resistance Army in Central Africa

Towards the end of last week there was heavy bombing in the hills just above Uvira, a small town in the Congo,  just across Lake Tanganyika from us:

Uvira, on the Congo lake shore, across from us.

These bombings were by the military of the Congo who, with tactical assistance from the U.S. military Special Forces, are  searching out hidden camps and followers of Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army :

The group is led by Joseph Kony, who proclaims himself the spokesperson of God and a spirit medium. Since 1987, Kony is believed to have recruited between 60,000 and 100,000 child soldiers and displaced around 2 million people throughout central Africa.[23] The LRA is one of the foreign organizations designated as terrorist by the United States,[24] and its leadership is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.[7]

Source:  Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency:

Capturing children and transforming them into fighters (boys) or used for service and sex (girls) are major goals of the LRA.

Children that have been forcefully recruited into the LRA experience a devastating life, as the graph below shows.  A few years ago we took in a couple of young boys (brothers) – their parents had recently died of HIV-AIDS, they had no other relatives, living off the streets and woodlands near Uvira –  and were thus prime subjects for  LRA recruitment.

War violence experienced by abductees[39]
Witnessed a killing 78%
Tied or locked up 68%
Received a severe beating 63%
Forced to steal or destroy property 58%
Forced to abuse dead bodies 23%
Forced to attack a stranger 22%
Forced to kill a stranger 20%
Forced to kill an opposing soldier in battle 15%
Forced to attack a family member or friend 14%
Forced to kill a family member or friend 8%

Source:  Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency

In some areas, families arrange for their children to sleep in a safe house, in a nearby town, in order to protect them from the LRA. Source: Wiki

“Night commuters” like these leave their homes in the evenings to sleep in public places, where they are more protected from abduction by rebel groups.
Credit: K. Burns

U.S. Army special forces Captain Gregory, 29, from Texas, center, who would only give his first name in accordance with special forces security guidelines, speaks with troops from the Central African Republic and Uganda, in Obo, Central African Republic, Sunday, April 29, 2012, where they are searching for infamous warlord Joseph Kony.

Obo was the first place in the Central African Republic that Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attacked in 2008 and today it’s one of four forward operating locations where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Kony and hope he will stand trial at the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity after his forces cut a wide and bloody swath across several central African nations. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis).

The hills above Lake Tanganyika, across from us, are so rugged that bombing may be the only way to root out LRA hidden camps.

Cutting off of nose, ears, lips, and-or hands is commonly practiced in the LRA. Source: Foreign Policy

Nose, ears and fingers cut off by the LRA. Source: examiner.com

As for the two little orphans that we took in, after a couple of months they left – being of an age that joining a rebel group seemed far more interesting that farm work and bathing daily!   Sad, but one of the painful realities facing orphan children.

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About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
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4 Responses to Impact of The Lords Resistance Army in Central Africa

  1. Pingback: Contempory Africa Through European Eyes | DIANABUJA'S BLOG

  2. Thank you for writing this.

    Like

    • dianabuja says:

      Thanks to you, Daniel, for your note – we may be into extended ‘mini’ battles, as we are so close to the Congo border; gives a chance to members of the LRA to ‘blend’ into Burundi and thus avoid Congo army…

      Like

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