“Genocide is an attempt to exterminate a people, not to alter their behavior” – Jack Schwart. Uganda has been greatly affected by genocide, different factors and people contribute to the problems there. Uganda is a landlocked country in Africa. It has a tropical climate and is divided into three distinct areas, the swampy lowlands, a fertile plateau with wooded hills, and a desert region. It has a population of 37. 58 million and has one of the lowest median ages in the world, age 15. Uganda’s capital is Kampala, and it has a multiparty democratic government.
Its largest labor force works in agriculture, Uganda relies greatly on their natural resources, especially coffee and oil. Uganda has three military forces, the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF), Land Forces, and the Uganda Air Force. It is subject to armed fighting amongst hostile ethnic groups, as well as rebels, and armed gangs. Genocide in Uganda has been going on since its independence in 1962, and is still going on today. Because it is such a poor country and the government is abusing its power it is difficult for Uganda to combat genocide.
Uganda has suffered many violations to human rights, some of these violations have been government sponsored. The country has experienced forced exile, imprisonment without trial and murders against certain ethnic groups. Milton Obote, Idi Amin and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, contribute to a large part of the genocide in Uganda. The Genocide in Uganda is a result of misused authority, and a hunger for power, the only way it will be resolved is if people take action and if the government changes it ways.
Genocide in Uganda started in 1995 when the LRA launched an attack in Atiak, which resulted in mass killings and abductions in the village. The LRA or Lords Resistance Army is a Christian extremist religious group. It is one of the least understood rebel movements in the world, and its ideology is difficult to understand. In the next few years, more murders and abductions by the LRA occurred throughout Uganda, including kidnapping 139 schoolgirls in 1996, and a raid in the town of Lamwo in 1997.
These killings and abductions kept occurring until 2002, when the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) finally took action by initiating a massive military attack against the LRA. The LRA responded to the UPDF by attacking refugee camps in northern Uganda and in southern Sudan. Because of the LRA and the governments actions millions of Ugandans were displaced from their homes, and put into internally displaced human camps. In 2002 Sudan signed an agreement to try and contain the LRA. In 2005 Joseph Kony, the leader of the LRA, was indicted by the International Criminal Court for Crimes Against Humanity.
At this point the UN has attempted an operation to capture Kony, resulting in the death of some LRA rebels. In 2008 Ugandan government launched an aerial attack on the LRAs camp, resulting in demolishment of the camp. But the government did not capture Kony or his followers. The US launched Operation Lightning Thunder to kill or capture Kony, they did not end up capturing Kony. These acts of resistance only contributed to LRA retaliation when they killed and abducted over 1,000 people in South Sudan and Congo. The LRA continued to terrorize Uganda and surrounding countries.
There are many issues associated with the LRA genocide in Uganda. The obvious issues would be the mass murders and kidnappings of millions of Ugandans. Many children had been kidnapped, killed, and used as child soldiers and slaves. It was estimated that by 2005, 25,000 children has been abducted by the LRA. It was also estimated that Kony and the LRA had recruited 60,000 to 100,000 child soldiers into their army. Every night 40, 000 children would flee their homes in an attempt to avoid, abduction, murder, or torture from the LRA. As many as 1. 8 million Ugandans were put into internally displaced human camps.
These camps are for people wanting to flee certain areas, but stay in their country. Many of the people in the camps were forced to flee their homes due to fear of the LRA and strength from the government. Most Ugandans in these camps would have had little chance of returning home. These camps had very high mortality rates and are sometimes referred to as concentration camps. Kony has a small army, partially made up of child soldiers, who he kidnapped and forced to join his army. Kony used this army to launch surprise attacks on villages, kidnapping, killing, enslaving, and terrorizing the people there.
Kony and the LRA have spread to other countries around Uganda and throughout Africa, creating even more issues. Uganda and other countries have made attempts to capture or kill Kony. The UPDF have made attempts at attacking the LRA. They made an attempt in 2002 and 2004, both attempts failed and created more problems. In 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Ugands Recovery Act. This act would send 100 US military advisors to train Ugandans to find Kony in South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In 2012 Uganda created a four nation African Military Force to hunt down Kony and other members of the LRA. The LRA became a worldwide focus when an American NGO, Invisible Children, launched a Youtube video called Kony 2012. The video was watched by millions of people and went viral. The video focused on the children being targeted by Kony. It shows children talking about how fearful they are that they will be abducted from their homes, or killed. It created a huge global response of people who wanted to start helping these children. These global responses have pushed Kony into hiding, as of today he has not yet been captured.
The Lords Resistance Army created a horrible genocide in Uganda that went on for many years. This genocide brought on by the LRA is a misuse of power and will need lots of support from other countries to be fully resolved, the government will also need to change its ways. Kony and his followers have killed many Ugandans and citizens from other countries. The LRA has tortured Ugandans, used them as slaves, and forced them to kill their friends and relatives. They abducted children in the night and forced them to join the LRA army as child soldiers.
The government pushed Ugandans into internally displaced human camps, many of the people there died from sickness. Different organizations in Africa and the US have made attempts at capturing and killing Kony, but all attempts as of today have failed. The global response that took effect after the Kony 2012 video was released, has raised the hopes of a better future, free of the LRA, for Ugandans. The values and beliefs of one group of people have led to genocide in Uganda. Kony had been terrorizing Uganda for many years, he had a few hundred followers helping him and as of now he has not been captured and is in hiding.