Child Soldiers in Uganda

Topics: Lord's Resistance Army, Uganda, Sudan Pages: 5 (1913 words) Published: April 7, 2013
Everyday children are abducted, subjected to extreme forms of physical, emotional, and psychological torture, and forced to become soldiers. One of the groups responsible for this horrible practice is the Lords Resistance Army, or LRA. The LRA began abducting children in the late 1980’s (War Child) . LRA soldiers raid towns, violently intimidating villagers and abducting children. Those who do not come willingly are forced through the pressure of physical violence or death to themselves or loved ones. Armed groups abduct children as they pass through villages (UNICEF). Child soldiers participate in armed conflict directly and/or indirectly (UNICEF). For example, some soldiers are used as “Combat Support,” such as messengers, spies, cooks, and sexual slaves. Children are most intensely affected by the LRA. They are often beaten and forced to torture or kill their family and friends as a form of torture and indoctrination. Girls are most often used as sex slaves. They range in age, but are frequently in their early teens, about the age 14(War Child). Lightweight automatic weapons make it possible for children as young as 11 to tote and use weapons(War Child). Considered one of the most terrorizing war lords in history, Joseph Kony, leader of the LRA, has ruined countless lives through the torture, mutilation, and killing of innocent Ugandans.

According to the non-profit organization, War Child, a group of outraged Ugandan citizens joined together to form the Lords Resistance Army. The LRA started in the early 1980’s in Uganda as the Holy Spirit Movement led by Alice Lakwena (War Child). She claimed the Holy Spirit ordered her to overthrow the Ugandan government because of the mistreatment of the Acholi people. As resistance towards the Ugandan government escalated, supporters flocked to Lakwena. Eventually battles outbroke in Jinja, which led to Alice Lakwena’s exile from Uganda. A man named Joseph Kony, who was born in 1961, claimed to be Alice Lakwena’s cousin and took over as a leader (War Child). He believes he is a prophet sent from God to purify the people of Uganda (War Child). In 1986, Joseph Kony re-named the Holy Spirit Movement as the Lord’s Resistance Army (War Child). Kony stated that his mission was to overthrow the Ugandan government because the mistreatment of the Acholi people and then rule Uganda based on the Ten Commandments. When he started to abduct children to build his ranks, Kony rapidly lost support. This resulted in the continued abduction of children to support his army (UNICEF) . For almost 26 years, Kony has led a vicious regime, targeting civilians, kidnapping children and forcing them to fight. Joseph Kony operates the Lord’s Resistance Army from bases in Southern Sudan with his top commanders Okot Odhiambo, Dominic Ongwen, and Raska Lukwiya (Global Security). Spreading fear and intimidation, the LRA targets remote villages, local government officials and employees as well as humanitarian convoys for attack (Global Security). Attacks happen in remote places and the lack of communication is a problem because news of attacks can take weeks or months to arrive in other villages. The LRA disguise themselves as military soldiers and attack the villages as they gather for village meetings or spiritual gatherings (Global Security). They loots villages for food and supplies. While looting, they abduct children, adults, and other people who can be useful, such as children who are strong enough to carry weapons (War Child). Those who refuse or try to escape are tortured and killed. The LRA kills the weak and old with machetes, swords, or stones, and cuts off peoples ears, lips, and noses as a warning for others (War Child). In addition captives are forced to rape and/or kill their family (War Child). These brutal tactics are used as a way to ensure total submission to LRA rule. Survivors are forced out of their homes and have to live in displacement camps which are dirty and have limited space...
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