Lord's Resistance Army
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Lord's Resistance Army
Background of the conflict that led to the formation of the LRA:
The Lord's Resistance Army, which has been fighting the Ugandan Government for nearly 18 years, has become know for its brutality, but the reasons for their rebellion are less well known.
The Ugandan Refugee Law Project has just interviewed 900 people from northern Uganda to try to discover just what it and its mysterious leader, Joseph Kony, stand for.
The report says the seeds of this terrible conflict were sown in the defeat in 1986 of Presidents Milton Obote and Tito Okello by forces loyal to Uganda's current leader, Yoweri Museveni.
The remnants of the defeated forces fled north, to their home areas - fearful that the new government would carry out attacks in retribution for government massacres in the Luwero triangle under the previous regimes.
The defeated fighter reformed and eventually rallied to a spiritualist - Alice Lakewenya, in the hour of their despair.
She was in turn defeated in 1987 - and other rebels threw in the towel - leaving a power vacuum in northern Uganda.
It was this that Joseph Kony filled with the Lord's Resistance Army.
While he initially targeted government troops, he turned on civilians when the government sent civil defence militia against him.
The report interviewed former LRA fighters who tried to explain Kony's philosophy.
In essence he appears to believe that his role is to cleanse the Acholi people.
He uses biblical references to explain why it is necessary to kill his own people, since they have - in his view - failed to support his cause.
"If the Acholi don't support us, they must be finished," he told one abductee.
The rebels are led by the mysterious Joseph Kony, who was part of a previous rebel force in northern Uganda.
He has said that he wants to rule Uganda according to the Biblical Ten Commandments.
But the rebel practice of abducting schoolchildren, forcing the girls to be sex slaves and the boys to be brutal killers flies in the face of Christian teachings.
He also says he is fighting for the rights of the region's Acholi people, against perceived discrimination by the government.
However, Acholis bear the brunt of the fighting and many LRA fighters are forced to bear arms.
The LRA does not have much popular support, although many northerners do agree that they are being ignored.
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