Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 12/2011

Countering the Lord's Resistance Army in Central Africa

Andre Le Sage

July 2011

Institute for National Strategic Studies


Led by Joseph Kony since the late 1980s, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is a brutal militia force that survives by massacring civilians, looting villages, and abducting civilians to serve as fighters, porters, and sex slaves. LRA operations have spread from northern Uganda to cover an expansive territory including eastern Congo, the Central African Republic, and southern Sudan. Much of this territory is outside the day-to-day control of governments in the region. Since 2008, Uganda has pursued LRA forces across this expansive territory. In 2010, the Obama administration developed a U.S. strategy to increase support for regional and peacekeeping operations against the LRA. Success depends on the political will and military capability of Uganda, its African neighbors, and United Nations peacekeepers to separate LRA units from civilian populations and build robust capabilities to track and strike LRA positions.