321 dead, 250 kidnapped. Shot, sliced, and left to rot, the hundreds of bodies gives off a sickening stench in a remote village. In what is called one of the worst acts in the history of the Lord’s Resistance Army, this massacre was just discovered recently by outside media due to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government downplaying the LRA because of the rebels’ weakening position and because of the remoteness of the village that was targetted.
The village of Mabanga Ya Talo is located deep inside the forests, a little isolated from the outside world. A ‘regiment’ of the LRA arrived at Mabanga Ya Talo on December 13th, 2009 impersonating the Congolese military then asked the villagers for food and goods. After receiving their goods, the rebels turned on the villagers and abducted adults and children by forcing them to become porters, fighters, and sex slaves.
They were, according to witnesses and survivors, forced on a march similar to that of the Bataan Death March which led to the brutal deaths of those who could not keep up by crude weapons such as axes and makeshift wooden spears. This massacre and ‘death march’ is only one among the many atrocities commited by the Lord’s Resistance Army ever since it’s formation in 1987 which was fueled by religious extremists supporting a theocracy based on a mixture of Christianity and traditional mysticism.
This massacre and the “campaign” following it lasted for four days.
The extremists supported rebellion against Uganda’s government. The conflict between the LRA and the Ugandan government still goes on today, the fight has leaked into other countries such as DR Congo and Sudan which was further fueled by Sudan’s political move of supplying military goods to the LRA in response to Uganda’s military support of the Sudan Liberation Army which is a rebel army in Sudan.
In addition to the Mabanga Ya Talo village, other villages were attacked before, during, and after this massacre in other areas. Human Rights Watch has estimated this one massacre to have the death toll of 321 while other activists and organizations even estimate up to more than 500 deaths.
The Lord’s Resistance Army, the majority being of child soldiers impressed into military service, has sporadically attacked various areas in Uganda and other countries leading authorities to believe that the rebel group is growing desperate for supplies and members because of recent government action reinforced by the United States and the United Nations that cut down nearly 60% of the LRA over the past years.
Contributed By: Fen Reynolds