It was typical of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Devastatingly cruel, simple, and unfortunately effective. According to Human Rights Watch, the Ugandan rebel group raided villages in northeastern Congo (Bas Uele) and the Central African Republic. The LRA abducted nearly 700 people over the past 18 months. Of the 700 people, it is estimated that 1/3 of the abductees were children as young as 10. 255 other civilians were killed in the course of the 18 months. Discovered corpses reveal most of the victims’ heads were beaten in by wooden clubs.
Events during this recruiting campaign most likely followed the normal LRA procedure: ransack the villages for supplies, tie the villagers up and use them as porters, then choose the adults or children fit to serve in the LRA while the rest are killed or left an equally disturbing fate.
The fates of those abducted are more than likely terrible: most “volunteers” are turned into soldiers, sex slaves, or bags of flesh to freshen the keenness of a rebel’s machete. Children turned into soldiers go through a bloody ‘ceremony’ that requires the children to kill their former neighbors, teachers, friends, families, and strangers.
Like most LRA-related cases, massacres of innocent civilians are discovered months – even years – later mainly due to the isolated geographical locations of ravaged sites. Led by Joseph Kony, a self-proclaimed representative of God, the theocratic LRA has been a thorn in Central Africa’s side ever since its conceivement in 1987.
Blown out of porportion by Uganda’s support of the Sudan Liberation Army, a rebel group in Sudan, and Sudan’s pay-back support for the LRA in Uganda, the decades-old conflict has spread to other countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo. Demands for the arrest of Joseph Kony and his captains as war criminals have become a din in the ears of the United Nations as the Lord’s Resistance Army continues to carry out abductions, murders, rapings,
Recently, the Lord’s Resistance Army 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 the government action reinforced by the United States and the United Nations that cut down nearly 60% of the LRA over the past few years.
Accidently, the Ugandan military had spread the LRA further around central Africa when it engaged the rebel group back in 2008 making it much more harder for local authorities to apprehend the rebels and their leaders.
This recent, irregular ”campaigning” for new recruits has only reinforced the authorities’ belief that the LRA is struggling to just survive as an army.
Criticism targeting the United Nations peacekeepers in Congo have resurfaced. Critics say more of the 19,000 U.N-supported MONUC (Mission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies en République démocratique du Congo) peacekeepers should concentrate on the region around the Bas Uele, an area suspected to be the LRA’s major base for their operations. Statesmen argue that the current peacekeeping stations are important to the national security of Congo as the country is still unstable after the second Congo war.