FAS | Intelligence | World Agencies | Para-States ||||| Index | Search |

Lord's Resistance Army

The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, operates in the north from bases in southern Sudan. More concerned with destabilising northern Uganda from bases in Sudan, the LRA has linked up with Interahamwe and anti-RCD rebels around the Bunia area. The LRA continued to kill, torture, maim, rape, and abduct large numbers of civilians, virtually enslaving numerous children. Insurgent groups in Uganda, the largest of which -- the Lord's Resistance Army -- receives support from Sudan -- harass government forces and murder and kidnap civilians in the north and west. They do not, however, threaten the stability of the government. The LRA seeks to overthrow the Uganda Government and has inflicted brutal violence on the population in northern Uganda, including rape, kidnapping, torture, and murder. LRA forces also target local government officials and employees. The LRA also targets international humanitarian convoys and local nongovernmental organization workers. Due to Sudanese support of various guerrilla movements, Uganda severed diplomatic relations with Sudan on April 22, 1995, and contacts between the Government of Uganda and the National Islamic Front-dominated Government of Sudan remain limited.

The LRA has abducted large numbers of civilians for training as guerrillas; most victims were children and young adults. The LRA abducted young girls as sex and labor slaves. Other children, mainly girls, were reported to have been sold, traded, or given as gifts by the LRA to arms dealers in Sudan. While some later escaped or were rescued, the whereabouts of many children remain unknown.

In particular, the LRA abducted numerous children and, at clandestine bases, terrorized them into virtual slavery as guards, concubines, and soldiers. In addition to being beaten, raped, and forced to march until exhausted, abducted children were forced to participate in the killing of other children who had attempted to escape. Amnesty International reported that without child abductions, the LRA would have few combatants. More than 6,000 children were abducted during 1998, although many of those abducted later escaped or were released. Most human rights NGOs place the number of abducted children still held captive by the LRA at around 3,000, although estimates vary substantially.

Civil strife in the north has led to the violation of the rights of many members of the Acholi tribe, which is largely resident in the northern districts of Gulu and Kitgum. Both government forces and the LRA rebels--who themselves largely are Acholi--committed violations. LRA fighters in particular were implicated in the killing, maiming, and kidnaping of Alcholi tribe members. Description

Founded in 1989 as the successor to the Holy Spirit Movement, the LRA seeks to overthrow the Ugandan Government and replace it with a regime that will implement the groupís brand of Christianity.


Since the early 1990ís, the LRA has kidnapped and killed local Ugandan civilians in order to discourage foreign investment, precipitate a crisis in Uganda, and replenish their ranks.


Estimated 1,000.

Location/Area of Operation

Northern Uganda and southern Sudan.

External Aid

While the LRA has been supported by the Government of Sudan in the past, the Sudanese are now cooperating with the Government of Uganda in a campaign to eliminate LRA sanctuaries in Sudan.

Sources and Resources

FAS | Intelligence | World Agencies | Para-States ||||| Index | Search |

Created by John Pike
Maintained by Steven Aftergood
Updated May 22, 2002