The Lord's Resistance Army TerrorisesReligious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 025 | Wed 07 Oct 2009
THE LORD'S RESISTANCE ARMY (LRA) TERRORISES
Southern Sudan, northern Congo, eastern Central African Republic (CAR), Uganda
In 1986 a Catholic self-proclaimed 'prophetess' named Alice Lakwena founded an ethnic Acholi militia in northern Uganda in response to what she believed was the voice of the Holy Spirit ordering her to overthrow the Government of Uganda (GoU). By 1987 Lakwena's 'Holy Spirit Movement' was finished: Lakwena had fled (she died in Kenya in 2007) and some 5000 of her soldiers lay dead. Under the leadership of Joseph Kony, a spirit-medium and former Catholic altar-boy, the survivors regrouped, forming the 'Lord's Resistance Army' (LRA). Lacking popular support, the LRA keeps its ranks filled by abducting children whom they terrorise into submission, indoctrinate and send out to kill and be killed. Around 90 percent of all LRA soldiers are believed to have been abducted as children. This is one reason why the GoU has been reluctant to attack the LRA with lethal force.
Whilst claiming to be the Lord's army led by the Holy Spirit, the LRA is deeply occultic. It receives support and supplies from the Islamic regime in Khartoum, Sudan. Khartoum uses the LRA as a proxy militia against African Christian, animist and even Muslim (Darfur) communities that reject Khartoum's Arab Islamic imperialism. As is common in occultism, LRA soldiers routinely collect their victims' genitals, livers, hearts and the like for use as occult charms (juju) in cannibalistic blood rituals. According to testimonies from defectors and rescued children, Kony routinely enters a trance to become possessed by a spirit -- claimed to be the Holy Spirit. If Kony talks while possessed, by repute whatever he says comes exactly true. The spirit reportedly alerts Kony to military movements, instructs him whom to kill and is always hungry for more human blood.
The LRA was decimated by a rash of defections starting mid-2003 and by Operation Lightning Thunder in 2008, a joint exercise in DR Congo by the armies of South Sudan, Uganda and DR Congo. However, a revived and re-supplied LRA is now terrorising the border regions of Southern Sudan, northern Congo and eastern CAR. Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio in remote Southern Sudan recently appealed through Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) for international attention and intervention (ACN 29 Sep 09). In early September a large band of LRA soldiers stormed into a church in his diocese, desecrated the building and abducted 17 youths. Three escaped, one was later found dead and mutilated and 13 remain in LRA custody. According to Bishop Hiiboro, 12 people were subsequently abducted from a village near Nzara, and six people ambushed in the forest outside Nzara were killed after being nailed to pieces of wood fastened to the ground. Those who discovered the bodies likened it to a grotesque crucifixion scene. After a spate of similarly horrendous attacks in August, some 20,000 Christians of all denominations across Western Equatoria State, South Sudan, walked more than two miles barefoot in sackcloth and ashes in prayer and silent protest. On 6 October, Uganda's Daily Monitor quoted Congolese officials reporting that some 3000 LRA soldiers, wearing new uniforms and carrying new weapons, have crossed from CAR into northern Congo and are now advancing towards Sudan. Father Benoit Kilalegu reported from Congo that the LRA attacked Digba on 25 September, killing 22 people with machetes.
Whilst the LRA is actually little more than a rag-tag band of guerrillas, under Kony's command they have been out-witting and out- running the official armies of Uganda, Southern Sudan, CAR and DR Congo (separately and combined) for some 20 years. There is more to the LRA than mere human evil. In its wake lie millions of mostly Christian traumatised victims in a region where virtually all services, provision of shelter, humanitarian aid, healthcare, education, care of orphans and rehabilitation of victims is provided by the Church.