Kony has become a household name all over the world, but few people know much about the organization behind the infamous man. Here are 10 facts about the LRA insurgency:
- Joseph Kony founded the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda as a rebel organization with a military-type hierarchy in which he acts as commander in chief in 1987.
- The LRA’s initial purpose was to revolt against the Ugandan government and its army, consisting of the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) and local defense units (LDUs).
- In order to increase its numbers and gain more power, the LRA abducts children and forces them to become soldiers for the LRA.
- The LRA operates by using fear tactics to terrorize civilians and their communities. Brutal acts committed by the LRA, such as public rapings, body mutilation and murder are intended to scare potential adversaries, increasing the LRA’s power.
- In 2005, the International Criminal Court issued warrants for the arrest of Joseph Kony and his fellow LRA leaders Vincent Otti, Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen.
- Kony has been charged with 12 counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, enslavement, rape and inflicting serious bodily injury. He was also charged with 21 war crimes, including directing an attack against a civilian population, pillaging, inducing rape and forced enlistment of children.
- In 2006, the LRA ceased operations in Uganda. It continued its attacks in regions of central Africa, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan.
- In 2012, a large social media campaign against Kony and the LRA went viral. Kony became a household name, and millions of people advocated for the arrest of Kony after watching a video urging the end of the LRA.
- Despite a large manhunt, Kony has still yet to be captured. All of his fellow leaders, except Otti, have been confirmed dead and had proceedings against them terminated. Otti is rumored to also be dead, following an altercation in which he was likely executed by Kony after planning to betray the LRA.
- Following increased global awareness and effort as well as the combined efforts of the Ugandan and American forces, the LRA’s number continue to decline and its power has decreased substantially.
These 10 facts about the LRA insurgency are only a few aspects of an organization that has displaced almost two million people and kidnapped more than 20,000 children. Thanks to global effort and government assistance, the growth of these numbers is consistently slowing.
– Jenae Atwell
Photo: U.S. Air Force