Unknown to the rest of the world, war has been going on in northern Uganda for almost two decades. Rebels commonly known as the LRA or the Lord’s Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony, have been fighting to overthrow the government of Uganda.
In recent years, the rebels have mainly targeted civilians, carrying
out massacres and ambushing vehicles. More than 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict, thousands maimed and wounded, and
between one and two million people displaced from their homes.
Child abduction is the main method of recruitment of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Over 30,000 children have been kidnapped over the years.
Boys and girls as young as five are dragged from their homes and schools, tied up and marched to the rebels bases. They are tortured, and brutally murdered. After basic military training, they are sent to fight. Countless children have been wounded or killed at the battlefield. Others have died of disease or starvation.
In addition, the abducted children are made to abuse others. They are forced to participate in killings of fellow abducted children. They are sent to burn and loot villages, and kill and maim civilians, sometimes their own relatives, by cutting lips, ears and legs.
Roughly one third of the abducted children are girls. From the age of twelve, they are given as ‘wives’ to the rebels commanders and made to produce children: a new generation of child soldiers.