For more than twenty years the people of northern Uganda have suffered from the brutality and cruel tactics of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). While the LRA were initially part of the post-colonial power struggle in Uganda, they kept fighting under the leadership of the self-proclaimed spiritual messenger, Joseph Kony, long after other groups laid down their arms. With no clear political objective, the LRA abducted more than 60,000 children over the course of the war, forcing them to be child soldiers, sex slaves and laborers. Nearly two million people were displaced from their homes and forced into internally displaced person (IDP) camps throughout the north, where they were largely dependent on international aid for survival.
In 2006, peace negotiations between the LRA and the Ugandan Government were re-established. The movement of remaining LRA rebels to the Garamba National Park in eastern Congo and to the Central African Republic (CAR) brought relative calm throughout the north but destabilized the region. Despite multiple opportunities to end the conflict through negotiated settlement, Kony has refused to sign a peace deal. In December 2008, Uganda, southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with the support of the U.S. Government, launched Operation Lighting Thunder -- a joint military operation against the LRA camps in DRC. The campaign was poorly executed and lead to reprisal attacks by the LRA against innocent civilians in eastern Congo. If Kony continues to refuse a negotiated settlement, the United States Government and the international community must ensure innocent civilians are protected from the LRA and implement a comprehensive arrest strategy of Kony and his inner circle. To learn more click here