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The creation of the Lord’s Resistance Army

The roots of the current war between the government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Acholiland are entwined with the history of conflicts in Uganda and the rise to power of the National Resistance Army (currently called National Resistance Movement, NRM) which is under the current president, His Excellence Yoweri K. Museveni.

It all started with the war in 1979 that overthrew Idi Amin who is known for having declared himself as the president of Uganda, for having massacred many Acholi and Langi people and for the economic war that expelled over 80,000 Asians from Uganda. This overthrow created a second term for Milton Obote who had taken refuge in Tanzania after being overthrown by Idi Amin. Obote had been aided by the Tanzanian army to fight Idi Amin. The bouncing back and forth of the country between the arms of power-hungry combatants, Milton Obote and Idi Amin created so much chaos and political turmoil in the 1970s and early 1980s which led to another famous guerilla war that was led by NRA under its leader Yoweri K. Museveni and other political parties. This war was referred to as the "bush war" where many lives were lost in the Luwero Triangle. In 1985, Obote was overthrown and Gen. Tito Okello came to power and he invited other political parties to join hands and establish a stronger nation. However the NRA did not participate in this agreement knowing that Okello was Obote’s former army commander. The Kenyan government under President Daniel Arap Moi had to intervene by making Okello and Museveni sign a peace agreement that was later on called the Nairobi agreement. This agreement was short lived as the National Resistance Army (NRA) went back to the bush and waged the guerilla war and in 1986 Okello was overthrown and Museveni came to power and became the president till today.  The country experienced relative peace but there had been so much suffering by the people from the North especially the Acholi and Langi people.

An Acholi woman by the name of Alice Auma was convinced that she was called upon by the Holy Spirit to protect the Acholi people from the atrocities that they had suffered. She began a movement that was called the Holy Spirit Mobile Forces (HSMF) that was against the NRA government and was meant to cleanse the Acholi people. She believed that if they washed themselves in some special water, they would become bullet proof. This movement was based on witchcraft and the guidance of the spirit which was called Lakwena hence her name Alice Auma Lakwena.  They won many battles against the NRA as she had gathered enough support from her people. They expanded to the south until Jinja district where they were hit hard by the government force and Alice Lakwena escaped to Kenya with a few of her forces.  Those who remained escaped back to Acholi where they were under the leadership of Alice Lakwena’s father, Severino Lukoya who continued the legend of being a spiritual messenger sent to rescue the Acholi people. However, he had less support and was eventually captured by the government. This created an opportunity for Alice Lakwena’s cousin, Joseph Kony to take power and lead the remaining group which he later renamed the Uganda Christian Democratic Army, and later on in late 1991 to the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), which is its current name.

In 1996, Joeph Kony abducted 139 girls from St. Mary's girls' secondary school in Aboke town in Apach district and for those who survived death, they were made sex slaves or even wives. This is one of the many horrying acts of the LRA that the country remembers every 10th October. Read related article

Sadly, the so called army that was originally created to protect its people, the Acholi people, is instead terrorizing them through abductions, killings, and many other inhuman activities. The calamity that exists in Northern Uganda will take a long time to fully get rid of and one wonders why their own son is the one causing them this appalling pain. The many peace talks that have been initiated by the government and international groups to stop this war have not been successful as Kony keeps evading them and changing his tactics.