Uganda’s brutal Lord’s Resistance Army: timeline

Uganda’s brutal Lord’s Resistance Army: timeline

These are the key dates in the history of the LRA in central Africa


The Ugandan Army hunting for LRA rebels and their leader, Joseph Kony.

January 1987: A year after the takeover of Uganda by rebel leader Yoweri Museveni, voodoo priestess Alice Auma Lakwena takes up arms to topple the new regime. Her Holy Spirit Movement is defeated at the end of 1987.

1988: Joseph Kony, presented as Lakwena’s cousin, takes over the fight at the head of what becomes the LRA.

March 1994: The LRA steps up ambushes and abductions in the north of Uganda, bordering the south of Sudan.

January 1997: Nearly 400 people are killed by the LRA during a four-day raid in the region of Kitgum.

April 2001: The United Nations Human Rights Commission condemns the LRA for kidnappings, torture, detentions, rapes and the forced enrolment of children.

April 27, 2002: Uganda and Sudan restore diplomatic relations – broken off in 1995 – after an agreement is signed giving the Ugandan army the right to pursue LRA guerrillas into Sudanese territory.

February 21, 2004: More than 200 people are massacred in an attack by suspected LRA fighters at a camp for displaced persons in the north.

October 14, 2005: The International Criminal Court says it has issued arrest warrants against five LRA officials, including Kony. In 2006 the LRA’s number three, Raska Lukwiya, hunted by the ICC, is killed by the Ugandan army.

December 19, 2011: US special forces arrive in the east of the Central African Republic to help fight the LRA there.

March 2012: US charity Invisible Children releases a video on the internet, raising worldwide awareness.

September 19, 2012: The African Union says it has taken control of a regional force hunting Kony across the central African jungles.

April 3, 2013: The United States puts a US$5 million bounty on Kony’s head.

May 20, 2013: The UN says that the LRA has killed more than 100,000 people over the past 25 years, also blaming it for the abduction of between 60,000 and 100,000 children and the displacement of 2.5 million people.

November 13, 2014: A UN report points to a string of LRA attacks across central Africa since the start of the year.

January 26, 2015: Former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen makes his first appearance before the ICC, accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, after surrendering to US troops earlier in the month.

January 21, 2016: Ongwen was the “tip of the spear” of the LRA, prosecutors tell the ICC, unveiling 70 war crimes charges against him.

December 6, 2016: Ongwen goes on trial, pleading not guilty. The ICC’s prosecutor tells the court he was “ferocious”.

March 25, 2017: The US military says it is wrapping up operations against the LRA in central Africa, saying it has “been reduced to irrelevance”.

April 19, 2017: The Ugandan army says it has neutralised the LRA, as troops began withdrawing from the Central African Republic where they have been hunting Kony.

Edited by Pete Spurrier

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Uganda's brutal Lord's Resistance Army: timeline


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