The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)
has terrorized the northern regions of Uganda for the past eighteen
years. The proclaimed objective of this Christian rebel insurgency is to
overthrow the current government and institute rule according to the precepts
of the Ten Commandments. In practice, however, it is civilians, not the
Ugandan military or government, that are targeted in LRA attacks. The
rebels abduct children to utilize as soldiers and sex slaves, loot and burn
villages and refugee camps, and rape, mutilate and murder civilians.
Their efforts have increased in the past twelve months since the government
launched an aggressive offensive against LRA bases in southern Sudan.
This offensive has forced LRA activists to resettle within the country, where
violence has begun to spread to eastern and southern regions.
Additionally, it has been reported that the LRA continues to receive weapons
and support from sympathizers within the Sudanese government. Such
reports threaten the diplomatic ties between Uganda and Sudan that facilitated
the Ugandan offensive against the LRA.
Members of the Acholi ethnic group
have been the primary perpetrators and victims of LRA attacks due to their
geographical proximity to LRA bases. Their victimization, therefore,
cannot be attributed to explicit targeting by the rebels.
Consequentially, the activities of the LRA could not be classified as
“genocidal” until recently. In April 2003, however, the group commenced
violence specifically against Roman Catholics, and in June, LRA leader Joseph
Kony reportedly called for the destruction of Catholic missions and the
targeting of clergy. Such activity constitutes the evolution of this
violent rebellion into a genocidal campaign.