The Lord's Resistance Army - A Practical Challenge to Countering a brutal militia force in Central Africa...
Center for Strategic Research
Strategic Forum #270
Led by Joseph Kony since the late 1980s, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is a brutal militia force that survives by massacring civilians, looting villages, and abducting civilians to serve as fighters, porters, and sex slaves.
It has plagued Central Africa, particularly northern Uganda, for over two decades. The group’s tactics provide textbook examples of war crimes and crimes against humanity. When attacking civilians, the LRA instills fear by selecting random individuals for brutal executions. Children are abducted to serve as porters, sex slaves, and new militia. In order to indoctrinate child soldiers, young abductees are routinely forced to kill their own family members and other children, or be murdered themselves. Anyone caught trying to escape from the LRA is summarily executed. By contrast with other African rebel groups, which occasionally adopt such brutal tactics, the LRA has conducted such atrocities on a systematic and prolonged basis.
Working with and prompted by nongovernmental relief and advocacy groups, the U.S. Congress passed the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009, requiring the Obama administration to develop a strategy to “mitigate and eliminate the threat to regional stability” posed by the LRA. While the LRA does not present a direct threat to the United States, its territory, or its citizens, the group’s operations have become a recurring concern for U.S. policymakers focused on peace-building and regional security in Africa.
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