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Uganda 2009 - Joseph Kony - The Lord's Resistance Army

Where is Joseph Kony? The present situation regarding the war with the LRA in northern Uganda


Uganda – The Pearl of Africa often gets a bad wrap on blogs, reports in the news and the like.  Just the other day I read that Uganda was one of the most dangerous places in the world to visit on a blog for today, but in reality that quote is taken from a UN report a few years old.  Today there was another one who said child soldiers active in Northern Uganda, that night commuter children were still hiding at night from the LRA in Gulu and the author  was presently in Uganda, at his disposal was and is the local media reporting where Joseph Kony presently is and the current situation regarding the Lord's Resistance Army. (writer of that blog was not in the north of Uganda but in Jinja which is in Eastern Uganda)

Many visitors come  each day to my website using search engines and with search words such as “child soldiers, Joseph Kony, pictures of child soldiers, Lord’s Resistance Army, LRA”.  I also receive many emails asking me about child soldiers in Uganda, about the state of war in Uganda, about abductions of children inside of Uganda presently.

There is this perception in the West that Uganda is aflame with war, embroiled in conflict, that it is a warzone…which is not the reality at all…and far from the truth. Joseph Kony under the indictment from International Criminal Court is not to be found in Uganda.

Joseph Kony, the former altar boy gone mad has not been active inside of Uganda for over two years.  Before that Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army terrorized the north of Uganda, especially his own people, the Acholi Tribe for over twenty years.  Abducting children from places such as Secondary Boarding Schools, villages and homes.  Over thirty thousand children were abducted in those years, a time largely ignored by the Western world, until three young men wound up in the North of Uganda and put together a video called “Invisible Children,” regarding the plight of thousands of children who lived in the fear of abduction by the LRA and went into towns such as Gulu and slept under porches of shops, inside of schools, hospitals and other places, wanting a safe place to sleep.

Over two million people from Northern Uganda wound up leaving their homes and villages for Internally Displaced Persons camps where they lived in squalor for many years.  Businesses closed down, schools and churches closed, clinics closed, life stopped in large sections of the north.Find out Who is Joseph Kony

Thousands were killed in raids by the LRA, children were brainwashed much as you saw in the movie “Blood Diamond” and were made to kill and maim their own families, their own friends, their own villages. Lips, ears, noses and other body parts were cut off in order to instill fear and silence in the people of the North of Uganda.

It was a sorrowful time for Uganda and it lasted for 22 years.  One can only be glad that for the last two years there has been a kind of peace in the North of Uganda thanks to a cessation of fire agreement between the Government of Uganda and Joseph Kony.  During the last year, Joseph Kony has been promising to sign a peace treaty with the government of Uganda, but he and some of his top deputies fear being handed over to International Criminal Court for trial because of their hideous deeds and of now, no peace deal had been signed. 

Joseph Kony and his LRA simply moved their operation of terror into other nearby countries such as South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, abducting children, enslaving people, continuing the creation of child soldiers, turning the girls and women into concubines, making them tend the fields that provided food for the LRA.  The size of his group with non-combatants on December 14, 2008 around 1000 to 1200 in total and Combatants at around 600 including some women. (according to the Ugandan Army as reported in local Ugandan media)

December 14th of 2008 the UPDF which is the Ugandan Army along with elements of the Democratic Republic of Congo Army and the South Sudanese Army began operation Lightning Thunder.  The beginning of it was a bit iffy since they attacks on the LRA was somewhat flawed even though aided and supported in part by the US military.

The downside  of that attack is that Joseph Kony and the LRA disbursed before soldiers actually arrived at the camp in Garamba National Park in the DRC, leaving a trail of tears within the DRC and upward to a thousand dead left in his trail of terror including the burning of a church and murdering the people within.

Today, Joseph Kony and the LRA are being pursued inside of the Democratic Republic of Congo by the UDPF which is the Ugandan Army, the army of Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudanese Army and  some gains can be reported with captives being set free, with a major leader of the LRA being captured and some of the child soldiers being found and freed.

The terrain where Kony has been hiding in Garamba National Park in the DRC is literally jungle, hills, rainforest, swamps, rivers, not many people, though since December 14th his group is to have killed around a 1000 people depending on different news reports.  Since the beginning of operation Lightning Thunder the size of the group has been greatly reduced, some have deserted, others are in negotiations of turning themselves over to the Ugandan Army, others have been killed, the supplies Kony and the LRA had have been reduced, all making the LRA less of a fighting force, nevertheless still potent and deadly, causing thousands to flee their homes inside of the Congo.

Joseph Kony’s support has come in the past from the Khartoum government in Sudan since they used him as a proxy to disturb the SPLA in the South and  also to frustrate the government of Uganda.  He is also purported to have received assistance from the Acholi community  that live abroad and would like to see a change in government in Kampala.

Presently the Ugandan press is reporting that Kony is in Garamba Park in the DRC, one can only hope that the operation to hunt him down is successful and Northern Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic will be free of the LRA and its demonically guided Leader, Joseph Kony. (The problem is that the very children one wants to rescue often get killed.  The operation is over and Kony is back to his old ways)

The North of Uganda is slowly coming to life again, people are rebuilding, millions of dollars are needed to repair destroyed and or neglected infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.  The people of Uganda want the peace of the last two years to continue so that they can live their lives without fear and life can return to normality.

Though there may not be any war in Northern Uganda, the wounds of war will take a long time to heal.  The hearts and minds of the formerly abducted are scarred by abuse; the physical damages such as the cut off noses, lips, ears, hands can never be repaired.  Kony’s has left a long legacy of tears and sadness affecting many.

The good news is that there is presently peace in Uganda, that no children are being recruited or abducted as child soldiers or concubines into the LRA.  That Uganda is slowly regaining its luster as the pearl of Africa.  That people are traveling freely into the north and around the north of Uganda without the fear of being ambushed by Kony’s abducted child soldiers turned into killers.

The towns of Lira, Gulu, Arua are coming to life again, the villages around them are once again being inhabited by its people, gardens are once again being tended, shops have opened, schools are open again that had been closed, clinics are functioning…it is the beginning of a slow walk back to sanity.

What saddens one is that voices from far away make it look like Uganda is still aflame portraying Uganda as a dangerous place, instead of the reality that Uganda is beginning to repair the damages of two decades of war and insanity.  The sad reality is that such misconceptions about Uganda actually hurt the very people of the North by keeping tourists away from Uganda and potential income.  Income that could benefit the very people that were hurt by Kony and his LRA, since some areas in the north are being reopened for tourists.

Uganda is one of the most beautiful places in the world, its bio-diversity, its wildlife, its scenery are simply awesome, but the most beautiful thing about Uganda is its people, including the people of the North of Uganda who are learning to slowly smile again…jon  Joseph Kony's Mother's dying Wish.

For more information regarding security and safety while traveling in Uganda see the Staying safe in Uganda Page.


Gulu: From war zone to a city of hope

Editorial - April 5 2009 - Taken from the Monitor

When Chairman Nobert Mao took over the leadership of Gulu progressive things started to come out of this district whose name had become a metaphor for rebel activity.
On Wednesday, other refreshing news about a team of Australian designers being in town to put the final touches on the proposed Gulu City plan broke.


Gulu has preserved a sense of some order and industry despite being the epicentre for the wars that have wracked northern Uganda. This has been down to two things: it being the economic hub of the greater north; and being the de facto home (after Kampala) to hundreds of humanitarian organisations that have operated up north.

With enlightened leadership, the municipality has built on this and recently moved to do something unusual – demolished illegal structures that had been erected on road reserves.
In this era of land grabbing and crooked public officials allowing all sorts of mayhem to rein in their domains, Gulu’s actions were an inspiration.

Yes, it might have one or two problems but the district marking its centenary in 2010 gives a sense of hope to the first time visitor. The carving of Amuru District out of Gulu will probably have helped as it essentially meant the leadership would now be freed from the burden of providing much-needed social services to far-flung parts on a tight budget.

With a smaller geographical area and population to manage, they could now concentrate on the objective of delivering a properly planned urban habitat truly deserving in holding city status.

No doubt money from the ‘NGO economy’ and the Acholi Diaspora has driven growth over the years, spawning an industry in restaurants and lodgings, for one.
The underlying lesson, however, is that with focused leadership it is possible to grow Uganda’s fledgling quasi-urban centres into properly planned and serviced conurbations.

The municipalities of Jinja, Mbarara and Mbale, which are yearning after cityhood, would do themselves a lot of good if they paid Mr Mao a courtesy call.


Invisible Children is using Uganda for its own gain

US troops arrive to ‘kill or capture’ Kony

Sponsor a child in Northern Uganda at the Pader Orphan Caring Project or just read the amazing story of each young person.

Alice Auma Lakwena

 Alice Auma Lakwena: Some see her as the Joan of Arc of Uganda, others as the mother of the long war in Uganda.

Who is Joseph KonyWho is Joseph Kony?  Villain, Christian, Muslim, Mystic, Patriot, Madman.  but who really is he? Who is this madman? Whose only goal is maim, rob & destroy. Uganda's Child Soldiers (Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army) What took place for over 20 years in Northern Uganda.

Catherine Ajok: The story of a courageous young woman, kidnapped, made a wife of Joseph Kony, after years reunited with her family in Northern Uganda.

Richard Akena Former Child SoldierRichard Akena:  Captures by the LRA several times, from child to killer, now heading an orphanage in Northern Uganda. His Story. Where are the children of the LRA?  Where are the abducted children of Uganda? What has happened to them?

Amnesty for Child Soldiers

Amnesty for LRA Child Soldiers? How Uganda handles former child soldiers and how they adjust into the community.

Night Commuter

The  Night Commuters of Northern Uganda: Fortunately this no longer exists but it is a look back to when it did.

Child Soldiers

Child Soldiers - Victims or Assailants:  Throughout history there have been child soldiers in all parts of the world.

Joseph Kony in 2009Uganda 2009 and Joseph Kony LRA: This is a look at the problems with the LRA in 2009 in the DRC. Joseph Kony - LRA UpdatesJoseph Kony LRA News Updates: regular updates to activities of the LRA, presently in neighboring countries of Uganda. It is still not Christmas in Northern Uganda - Christmas 2006It is still not Christmas in Northern Uganda: a look back to Christmas of 2006 in Northern Uganda
Christmas 2008 and the LRAIt does not feel like Christmas-Joseph Kony-Christmas 2008:  Operation Lightning Thunder began against the LRA on December 14, 2008.  Uganda is more than Idi Amin, Joseph KonyUganda is more than Idi Amin, Joseph Kony and the LRA:  The images that westerners have of Uganda is amazing.  Rarely do those images reflect the reality of Uganda. Living in a warzone - UgandaLiving in a Warzone - Uganda: Many people across the globe think that Uganda is a warzone, it is a warzone of wrong information about Uganda. Northern Uganda - Peace - Give it a Chance: It is time to put aside the wrong information and help to rebuild Northern Uganda in any way possible.
Joseph Kony's Mother dying wish.Joseph Kony's Mother's dying Wish.  Before she died she had a wish for her son Joseph Kony. Hep rebuild Northern UgandaVolunteers needed to help rebuild northern Uganda, two weeks working with a former Child Soldier at his orphanage - weeks that will change your life forever.  Two weeks in Kitgum, Northern Uganda that will remain with you for a long time.

 

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