The Lord’s Resistance Army: an African Terrorist Group?

The Lord’s Resistance Army: an African Terrorist Group?

 by Emma Leonard


The years since 9/11 have been characterised by the increasing threat of terrorist action in the  Middle East and South Asia. Yet Sub-Saharan Africa was has also become a region of concern. In 1998, it had been the scene of two Al-Qaeda attacks against US embassies; besides Africa is home to large Muslim populations. Since 9/11 African violent non-state groups unrelated to Al- Qaeda or to the wider Islamist movement have been recast as terrorist organisations. These groups primarily operate in conflict zones, an area of research that traditionally has not been the main focus of Terrorism Studies. Protagonists have at various times been called freedom fighters, rebels, warlords, insurgents or simply violent gangs. This article looks at the most notorious of African groups – the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA. It argues that some groups like the LRA have been recast as terrorist organisations not because of a change in their activities but due to a change in the geo-strategic environment they found themselves in the post-9/11 period. The LRA’s ideology and tactics will be judged against a broad definition of terrorism in order to test whether the group can, in an objective way, be called a terrorist organisation. It is concluded that the LRA is too ambiguous an organisation to be simply labelled in such a way. It is also suggested that the terrorism label has in fact been an obstacle to attempts to end successfully a confrontation that is now going into its 24th year.


The years since 9/11 have been characterised by the increasing threat of terrorist action against the United States and her allies. That Al-Qaeda and its affiliations continue to pose a threat is no longer contested; recent high profile attempts are ample illustration.[1] However, other groups unrelated to Al Qaeda or to the wider Islamist movement have also been recast as terrorist organisations in the wake of 9/11. Here I will focus on one of these groups – the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda – and will argue that rather than a change in its activities it was the change of the geo-strategic context that led to this labelling in the post-9/11 setting and that it has not been helpful in terms of resolving a conflict that has been going on for almost a quarter of a century.

While many articles have been dedicated to the definition of  ‘terrorism,’[2] it seems as though the field is no closer to finding an universally accepted (legal) definition than it was half a century ago. Many countries, particularly former European colonies, have struggled to find a definition of terrorism that would exclude ‘freedom fighters’ who rose against their colonial masters. The following quotation highlights this problem:

Was Nelson Mandela of the early 1960s a terrorist or a legitimate fighter struggling for the liberation of the black majority? Based on the rules that existed at the time, it is plausible to argue that he was a terrorist. He was among those who sought to use violent means to bring an end to the system of government …in South Africa, albeit a governance system that was universally condemned. However, if one looks at Mandela’s role from the point of view of a people’s right to self-determination, which is enshrined in international law, he was the legitimate fighter seeking to improve the political, economic and social conditions of his people. [3]

Most of the anti-colonial movements within Africa were, at some point, labelled as ‘terrorist organisations’ by the colonial governments they were fighting against. The labelling of one’s enemies as ‘terrorist’ continues to this day. This has led some to argue that the terms ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’ are simply too politically charged to be useful; they hold that academics should refrain from using them entirely. This is, however, not the position taken here. My starting assumption is that terrorism is a distinct sub-field of political violence with defining characteristics that distinguish it from other forms of political violence. That those in power can and do (mis-) use the term in their own ways and to their own advantage does not by necessity invalidate the concept of terrorism.

As complicated as any use of the term ‘terrorism’ is, the discussion here regarding the LRA is further complicated by the fact that the LRA is a combatant group within an on-going conflict. Traditionally most terrorism studies have shied away from the study of the use of terrorism within insurgent conflicts, focusing instead on acts of terrorism within otherwise peaceful societies - mainly the liberal democracies of Western Europe and North America. This is in part due to the difficulty of conducting research within conflict zones; in the fog of war it is often difficult to establish whether terrorism, war crimes or more legitimate acts of war are taking place. However, definitions again play a role in the lack of clarity in this area. Sambanis argues that, ‘[i]f we consider terrorism as a strategy – a means to an end – then the links are obvious: civil wars create opportune environments for terror and terrorists. Indeed...most terrorist events tend to take place in countries affected by civil war.’[4] However, he then goes on to argue that if a group exclusively or ‘near-exclusively’ uses terrorism as its strategy, it is possible to look at ‘terrorism’ and ‘civil wars’ as distinct phenomena and that terrorism can create a ‘tipping point’ that leads to a civil war.[5] Here I take the view that terrorism is ‘a strategy of intimidation,’ and as such  ‘a sub-set of violent strategies that can be used during civil wars.’[6]

In the following I will assess the record of the LRA against the ten key characteristic elements of terrorism as identified by Alex Schmid and detailed below in Table 1. This will allow us to pass judgment on whether the US Department of State was justified in adding the LRA to its Terrorist Exclusion List.

Table 1: Key Characteristic Elements of Acts of Terrorism, according to Schmid [7]

  1. The demonstrative use of violence against human beings;>
  2. The threat of (further) violence;
  3. The deliberate production of terror/fear/dread/anxiety in a target group;
  4. The frequent targeting of civilians, non-combatants, and innocents;
  5. The purpose of intimidation, coercion, and/or propaganda;
  6. The fact that it is a method, tactic, or strategy of conflict waging;
  7. The importance of communicating the act(s) of violence to a larger audience;
  8. The illegal, criminal, and immoral nature of the act(s) of violence;
  9. The predominantly political character of the act;
  10. Its use as a tool of psychological warfare.

Background to the Conflict in Northern Uganda

The Lord’s Resistance Army  has been active in Northern Uganda since 1987. However, it is not the first armed group from this region to challenge the government of the National Resistance Movement (NRM). After Idi Amin was removed from power in 1979, Uganda descended into a period of civil war. It only ended in 1986 when the NRM (then known as the National Resistance Army or NRA) seized power and its leader, Yoweri Museveni, became President. With the coming to power of the NRM came a period of stability within much of Uganda. Most of the country has seen significant economic growth over the last two decades. Museveni’s government has worked hard to promote Uganda as an African success story and has managed to attract foreign investment and development assistance from Western donor countries.

However, the coming to power of the NRM also signalled a shift in power within the country. Museveni and most of the original members of the NRM were from the southwest of Uganda and were ethnically Ankole. This was the first time since independence that the President of Uganda had not been from one of the northern regions and the first time that the Ugandan army had not been made up of substantial numbers of Northerners. As part of their colonial rule in Uganda, the British had instituted a policy of divide-and-rule. Thereby Bugandans, based in the centre and south of Uganda, staffed most of the bureaucracy while the army was predominantly manned by Acholi and Langi from the north. The Ankole, by contrast, suffered from the same divide-and-rule strategy implemented in the other regions of Uganda. They were, however, not strongly associated with any one branch of the colonial government.[8] The Acholi in particular were seen as a ‘warrior race’ by the British; they continued to be strongly associated with the Ugandan army throughout most of the independence period. The one notable exception to this was during the rule of Idi Amin when he purged the army of Acholi soldiers who in his view were still potentially loyal to the former president Milton Obote. With the fall of Amin and the second Obote presidency in the early 1980s, however, the Acholi once again became well represented in the Ugandan army. Unfortunately for the Acholi this meant that they became increasingly associated with the atrocities carried out by the army during the civil war. As Vinci explains, ‘[m]ost notoriously, the military rounded up, looted, and murdered (almost at a genocidal level) civilians in the so-called Luwero Triangle in central Uganda, which it believed were supporters of the NRM.’[9]

After the NRM victory in the civil war, many of the defeated Ugandan army soldiers fled back to the North and there were concerns that the NRM soldiers would pursue them and exact their revenge. In preparation for this, a number of self-defence groups emerged within Northern Uganda and some of these attempted to pre-empt any violence against the Acholi people by attacking the NRM soldiers. The most famous of these groups was the Holy Spirit Movement (HSM), which was also the most direct precursor to the LRA. The HSM had been led by Alice Auma, also known as Alice Lakwena. It was characterized by a mixture of violence and spiritual rituals similar to the LRA. Both the HSM and the LRA claimed to be defending the Acholi people from the NRM, the leaders of both groups claim to be possessed by a number of spirits from whom they would take guidance and, as violence was directed inward against the Acholi, both groups claimed that the Acholi people could only be redeemed through the cleansing ritual of violence. This has been compared to ‘some biblical prophets who were willing to purge sinful people, heaping curse upon curse on them, in order to save a small minority considered to be pure in heart.’[10]

Thus the LRA emerged at a time and in a space where the Acholi people were both fearful of what the NRM had in store for them but were also experiencing feelings of guilt over the atrocities Acholi soldiers had carried out. They were looking to both defend and redeem themselves. This psycho-social background goes some way to explain why these violent but spiritual movements initially gained some support within Acholiland.

 The LRA: a Terrorist Organisation?

Is the LRA a terrorist organisation? Here we will explore the existing evidence to see whether the LRA is or is not in fact a terrorist organisation as the US Department of State has suggested.

The first of Schmid’s key characteristic elements is that there has been ‘a demonstrative use of violence against human beings,’ thus excluding groups that only threaten violence or that carry out violent attacks against property. The LRA certainly matches this criterion, attacking mainly Acholi civilians but making no effort to hold territory. Estimates of how many people have been killed in this conflict are difficult to come by and even more difficult to verify but thousands have been abducted killed or mutilated by the LRA. As an indication of the levels of violence perpetrated by the LRA: the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated that in 2009 the LRA had killed 1,096 civilians and abducted 1,373 adults and 255 children in the Haut and Bas Uele districts of northern Congo alone.[11] On the basis of this estimate one can roughly extrapolate what the death toll and the number of abductions would amount for  nearly 24 years in all the districts affected by the LRA’s presence.

Over more than two decades it is has become clear that the LRA has continuously been able to threaten the use of further violence (the second key characteristic of terrorist incidents). It has again and again made good this threat, which has enabled them to deliberately produce terror/fear/dread/anxiety within the Acholi people (key characteristic three). An interviewee in Tim Allen’s book ‘Trial Justice’ explained the LRA tactic of abductions in the following way:

The point is that the abduction of children has been a deliberate strategy – a weapon of choice. Like rape, it has been used systematically and selectively to terrorise the population. Indoctrinating impressionable young people and making them do terrible things, such as killing their own parents, inverts the moral order and shows the power of the LRA.[12]

The LRA is internationally notorious for attacking civilians (thus fulfilling key characteristic four). This started in earnest in the mid-1990s. Up to that point the LRA mainly engaged with the Ugandan People’s Defence Force (or the UPDF, as the Ugandan army is now known), claiming to be protecting the Acholi civilians from the inroads of the army. However, even at that time the LRA enjoyed little support from the Acholi. Violence against the Acholi people from the UPDF had not been as widespread as feared and many people simply wanted peace after so many years of violence (which had starting in earnest with the Amin period – 1971-1979). In 1994, the Acholi set up so-called ‘bow-and-arrow’ defence groups against the LRA. By many accounts this was the turning point for Josef Kony, the leader of the LRA. From 1994 onwards the LRA engaged less with the UPDF and attacked instead the Acholi people they claimed to be fighting for. It has been reported that Kony could not believe that the Acholi would turn against the LRA; to punish them the LRA began to attack  Acholi civilians in earnest. In this way the purpose of violence used by the LRA became to coerce the Acholi into supporting the LRA or to at least intimidate them into not assisting the UPDF (key characteristic five).

Violence in this form is both a strategy and a tactic of the LRA (key characteristic six). The strategy of intimidation is designed to stop the civilians from informing the UPDF about the whereabouts of the LRA. Tactic of cutting off the lips of people believed to have informed the government of LRA activities instils fear among civilian communities. This allowed the LRA to pursue two goals simultaneously: they sought to punish Acholi civilians for refusing to support the group while also continuing to draw the UPDF into the conflict. This goal was achieved as a significant portion of the UPDF was then posted to the North, ostensibly to protect civilians from LRA attacks (although how much the army actually acted to protect the people has been  questioned).

One of the key characteristics of many definitions of terrorism (here is key characteristic seven) is that terrorists seek to use violence to communicate a message to an audience larger than the initial victims. The LRA does this, not on the global scale of a group like Al-Qaeda but on a (sub-)regional scale. Most of the messages seem to be aimed at the Acholi people. Yet some of the violence is designed to show the Ugandan government that the LRA is still functioning and that the government has not yet succeeded in ending the conflict. Messages to the Acholi normally take the form of punishing suspected informers in such a way as to ensure that other civilians think twice before  reporting LRA activities to government officials. An example of this is illustrated in the following interview extract:

People’s lips were cut off because it was with the lips that they made alarms when being under attack and they [the LRA] also claim it was the same lips that people use for reporting them to the UPDF, who pursue and attack them. So this is done to discourage others from making an alarm when being pursued.[13]

Similarly, those seen on bicycles would have their legs cut off so they could no longer cycle to raise the nearest alarm. These acts of violence against civilians are clearly illegal under Ugandan law as they are also illegal under the international laws of war (key characteristic eight), which accept that violence is a necessary component of war but seek to limit the kinds of violence that are acceptable even under the extreme conditions of an on-going armed conflict. One of the main tenants of international humanitarian law is that it is not permissible to target civilians under any circumstancesl; deliberately maiming opponents is also prohibited.[14]

Acts of terrorism must by definition be carried out in order to further the political agenda of the group (key characteristic nine). The LRA initially claimed to be defending the Acholi from the NRM government. A former member of the LRA claims that Kony told him ‘to be strong hearted and fight for the freedom of Acholi people. It’s our duty to free the Acholi whose land will be taken away by Museveni.’[15] Kony continued this theme in a 2004 interview in a Kenya-based Sudanese magazine called The Referendum. There he claimed, ‘President Museveni cannot talk peace, he is a killer and he wanted to kill me by all means.’[16] There has also traditionally been a Christian element to the political ideology of the LRA with Kony claiming that the LRA ‘is fighting for the application of the Ten Commandments of God.’[17] An LRA spokesman summarised the political agenda of the LRA in 1997 in more secular terms:

(a) To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people, (b) to fight for the immediate restoration of competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda, (c) to see and [sic] end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans, (d) to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, (e) to ensure unity, sovereignty and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, (f) to bring an end to the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization [of] groups of people who may not agree with the NRA [government] ideology.[18]

It is also clear from the discussion above, but particularly the quotes from Allen’s interviewees, that the LRA has used violence as a tool of psychological warfare (key characteristic ten). The immediate consequence of LRA activity was that the Ugandan government would move much of the Acholi population into Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps within the North, removing them from their native land and traditional livelihood. The original rationale behind this was that these camps would be protected by the UPDF and thus harder for the LRA to attack. However, the protection at these camps was rarely sufficient and the camps became subject to LRA attacks. The Acholi have attempted at various points to instigate peace negotiations but there has been a general reluctance to attack the LRA by the use of force, in part for fear of retaliation (which, as experience showed, would be brutal) and in part, because many of the foot soldiers within the LRA were (and are) children abducted from Acholi villages.

Alternative Explanations of the LRA

From the discussion above it would seem as though the designation of the LRA as a terrorist organisation is straightforward and unproblematic. However, this section will show that the LRA does not fit the definition of a terrorist organisation quite a neatly as it would seem. This is in particular true with regard to the political ideology and agenda held by the group. From the statements quoted above, it would seem as though the LRA holds a rational political agenda: it claimed to defend the Acholi from the NRM government and hoped eventually to overthrow the NRM government and finally re-construct the government of Uganda as a Christian theocracy, based on the Ten Commandments. Yet many claim that the LRA has no political agenda at all. If this is indeed the case, can the LRA be classified as a terrorist organisation? If a group can be a terrorist organisation without holding some sort of political agenda, what differentiates these groups from ordinary violent armed gangs?

Here I take the view that a political agenda is indeed an essential component for the definition of a terrorist entity. Political concepts are often contested, especially those laden with as much emotive power as ‘terrorism’. Yet ultimately the point of such definitions is to assist us in our understanding of the world in which we live. Therefore, the best definitions will remove as much ambiguity as possible. The necessity that a group has a political agenda to be classified as a terrorist group therefore narrows down the universe of possible groups and offers a way to distinguish between those groups who use violence against civilians for political reasons (terrorist groups) and those who use violence against civilians for personal or economic gain (gangs or mafia organisations). The definition of ‘terrorism’ used by the US Department of State, for example, explicitly states that violence used for simply economic gain cannot be classified as terrorist activity.[19] The following section of the paper will argue that there is not enough evidence of a political agenda to truly categorize the LRA as a terrorist organisation.

To be ‘political’ in this context a belief system must move beyond the simple survival of the group and beyond the economic enrichment of the group. A group fighting to promote a political belief system is fighting for more than the individual: it is fighting for a political community.[20] This can mean that they are fighting to retain a state’s status quo (often a reactionary agenda) or fighting to overthrow the status quo (a revolutionary agenda), which would normally include overthrowing the government and setting up a new type of regime in its place. Political agendas can also work on a more regional level: for the protection of a particular community from a predatory government for example, or for that region to secede from the state or at least gain greater autonomy. The key for an agenda to be ‘political’ though is that the agenda or belief system is designed to promote or sustain the advancement of a particular community in more than simply an economic way.

What then does this mean for the LRA? The LRA claims to have a political agenda but this is dismissed by many observers who ask how can we seriously can we take the claims that they are fighting to protect the Acholi when the Acholi are their main victims? Similarly, how can we take seriously their claims to be a Christian group fighting for a government based on the Ten Commandments when they have broken every single Commandment, often in the most brutal way possible?

One of the main obstacles to ascertaining the political agenda of the LRA is that the group has made few direct statements setting out their political beliefs. The political agenda of the LRA has mainly been put together by external observers, based on a few public statements. Cline, who reported on some statement about the political goals made by an LRA spokesman, even questioned that statement, pointing to the fact that we have nothing beyond this man’s word to prove that he actually speaks for the LRA.[21]

In his article, ‘The Fifth Wave: The New Tribalism,’ Jeffrey Kaplan argues that the LRA can be seen as a new type of terrorism. He argues that instead of focusing on an external enemy, groups in this fifth wave of terrorism, are ‘turning inwards,…become particularistic, localistic, and centered on the perfection of a race or tribal group.’[22] Such fifth wave groups are millenarian in their views and often genocidal in their practices as they seek to purify ‘their people’ as a necessary step towards the new utopia. Kaplan argues that the LRA is the ‘paradigmatic exemplar’ of this new wave of terror. Indeed for much of the LRA’s existence it does appear to fit this description. However, in recent years the LRA has moved away from Northern Uganda. Attacks are now primarily directed against civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Southern Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR).  In this sense it can no longer be argued that the LRA is directing genocidal violence against the Acholi people in an attempt to usher in a ‘new world.’

Vinci and Gettleman both argue that, whatever the motives that the LRA started fighting for, the group no longer fights for anything other than its own survival. Vinci argues that, ‘[n]ow, the LRA only represents itself. It fights in order to bring security and social, economic, and political benefits to its own members. The means to bring these benefits are to continue fighting. As such, its “political goal” is to continue its existence as a separate unit, which necessitates continual warfare.’[23] Given that the LRA now operates mainly outside of Uganda and, as shown above, is clearly not fighting to protect the Acholi people, it is difficult to disagree with this perspective. Attacks in neighbouring countries seem to centre on raiding villages for supplies and for abducting both children and adults to replenish the ranks of the LRA. Gettleman ties this lack of ideology to the intractability of many of the current conflicts in Africa. Indeed, he uses the LRA as ‘[p]robably the most disturbing example’[24] of these new kinds of conflict, asking

Even if you could coax them out of their jungle lairs and get them to a negotiating table, there is very little to offer them. They don’t want ministries or tracts of land to govern. Their armies are often traumatized children, with experience and skills (if you can call them that) totally unsuited for civilian life. All they want is cash, guns, and a license to rampage. And they’ve already got all three. How do you negotiate with that?[25]

There is considerable evidence to suggest that this analysis of the LRA is correct. During the Juba peace talks (2006-2008) the LRA was prepared to compromise drastically in terms of what they would receive politically after the peace agreement was signed. After first demanding five ministerial positions as well as other government positions (including Ambassadorial positions), they were subsequently willing to accept only that the government would consider LRA members for positions within the government.[26] However, talks fell apart when the NRM government refused to guarantee LRA leaders that they would not face prosecution from the International Criminal Court (a promise that President Museveni did, in reality, not have the power to make), indicating that the LRA negotiators were more interested in ensuring their own survival rather than in achieving political goals for a wider constituency.


 The consequences of designating groups as ‘terrorist organisations’ in cases where there is some debate over the appropriateness of such a classification goes beyond the academic debate over the definition of terrorism. While the sincerity of commitment of both the Ugandan government and the LRA to the Juba peace talks has been questioned, it is also clear that the position initially taken by the US government did nothing to encourage the peace talks. The US initially did not support the Juba peace talks, despite the fact that there were widely considered to offer the best opportunity to end the conflict since the failed 1994 peace talks. The main reason behind this was that the US did not want to be seen to be encouraging negotiations with terrorist organisations.[27] Instead the United States tried to encourage the Museveni government to defeat the LRA militarily. Susan Rice, US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, for example, told Congress in July 1998, ‘It is frankly difficult to imagine a negotiated settlement with a group like the LRA’.[28] This reluctance was still evident in 2006 when the Bush Administration was criticized for not even mentioning the conflict in discussions with President Museveni. [29]

Even though the US did eventually send an observer to the Juba peace talks, it was accused of trying to undermine them. In 2007 the International Crisis Group recommended that the US and UK governments ‘desist from threatening military intervention in Congo’ (where the LRA was based at the time).[30] Similarly, Betty Bigombe (an Ugandan national who has done more than almost anyone else to try to bring this war to an end) criticized the US, stating that: ‘If America wanted this war to end, it would have ended.’[31] At that time there was a call for the United States to assert more diplomatic pressure on both negotiating parties to bring this conflict to an end.


I have tried to demonstrate that the designation of the LRA as a terrorist organisation is not as straightforward and uncontested as it would appear at first sight. Care should therefore be taken to ensure that labels are not attached to particular groups in such a way as to lessen the chances that an end to the conflict can be found. The case of the LRA should serve as a warning of both the difficulties of establishing whether a group in a conflict zone is truly a terrorist organisation and of the harm that such a label may cause when it comes to conflict resolution.

 About the Author:  Emma Leonard is a Research and Administrative Assistant at the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) at the University of St Andrews. She holds degrees from the University of St Andrews (MA International Relations) and the University of Oxford (MSc African Studies), and will start her doctoral research in September 2011. Her research interests include: the utilisation of violence within civil wars, the impact of external intervention on civil wars and, more broadly, the impact of globalisation on civil wars, with a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa. She would like to thank Michael J. Boyle and Rashmi Singh for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper. She can be contacted at: emma.leona[email protected]  .



[1] For example, the so-called 2009 Christmas Day bomber and the more recent attempts to smuggle explosives into airplanes destined for the US in October 2010.

[2] See, for example, L. Weinberg, A. Pedahzur and S. Hirsch-Hoefler (2004) ‘The challenges of conceptualizing terrorism,’ Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol.16, No., 4, pp. 777-794.

[3] S. M. Makinda (2007). ‘History and root causes of terrorism in Africa,’ in W. Okumu and A. Botha (Eds.) Understanding Terrorism in Africa – In Search for an African Voice, Cape Town: Institute for Security Studies, p. 16.

[4] N. Sambanis (2008). ‘Terrorism and Civil War,’ in P. Keefer and N. Loayza (Eds.) Terrorism, Economic Development & Political Openness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 174.

[5] Idem, p. 203.

[6] Idem, p. 183.

[7] A. P. Schmid (2005). ‘Terrorism as Psychological Warfare,’ Democracy and Security, Vol.1, No.2, p. 140.

[8] For a more detailed look at the policies of the British colonial government in the Ankole region, see M. R. Doornbos. (1976) ‘Ethnicity, Christianity, and the Development of Social Stratification in Colonial Ankole, Uganda,’ The International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 9, No. 4, pp. 555-575.

[9] A. Vinci (2007). ‘Existential Motivations in the Lord’s Resistance Army’s Continuing Conflict,’ Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Vol. 30, No.4, p. 338.

[10] R. Doom and K. Vlassenroot (1999) ‘Kony’s Message: A New Koine? The Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda,’ African Affairs, 98,  p. 25.

[11] Human Rights Watch (2010) Trail of Death: LRA Atrocities in Northeastern Congo. New York: Human Rights Watch, p. 17.

[12] T. Allen (2006). Trial Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Lord’s Resistance Army London: Zed Books, p. 64.

[13] T. Allen (2006). Trial Justice; p. 66.

[14] H. Slim (2007). Killing Civilians: Method, Madness and Morality in War .London: Hurst , p. 1.

[15] T. Allen. (2006) Trial Justice, p. 68.

[16] BBC News (2004). ‘Uganda LRA Rebel Leader ‘Speaks’,’ BBC News Online, 15th April 2004, ; accessed 23rd November 2010.

[17] J. Kony quoted in A. Vinci (2007). ‘Existential Motivations,’ p. 342.

[18] Cline, L. (2010). ‘Spirits and the cross: religiously based violent motivations in Uganda,’ Small Wars & Insurgencies , Vol. 14, No. 2,  p. 120.

[19] US Department of State (2004). Terrorist Exclusion List (US Department of State); accessed 23rd November 2010.

[20] See B. Anderson (1991). Imagined Communities: Reflections in the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (New York: Verso) for further information on nationalism and what he refers to as ‘imagined communities.’

[21] L. Cline. ‘Spirits and the Cross,’ p. 128.

[22] J. Kaplan (2007). ‘The Fifth Wave: The New Tribalism?’ Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol.19, No. 4,  pp. 545-570.

[23] A. Vinci. (2007) ‘Existential Motivations,’ p. 348.

[24] J. Gettleman. (2010) ‘Africa’s Forever Wars: Why the continent’s conflict never seem to end,’ Foreign Policy, March/April 2010.

[25]  Ibid.

[26] BBC News (2008) ‘New Breakthrough in Uganda Talks,’ BBC News Online, 22nd February 2008,, accessed 23rd November 2010.

[27] D. Smock. (2008) ‘Uganda/Lord’s Resistance Army Peace Negotiations: Peace Brief,’ (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace,, accessed 26th November 2010.

[28] D. Westbrook (2000). ‘The Torment of Northern Uganda – A Legacy of Missed Opportunities,’ The Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution (3:2), accessed 30th May 2008.

[29] P.J. Quaranto and M. Poffenberger (2006) ‘2006 Peace Talks in Juba – A Historic Opportunity,’, accessed 30th May 2008.

[30] International Crisis Group (2007) ‘Northern Uganda: Seizing the opportunity for peace,’ Africa Report No. 124 – 26th April 2007 .Brussels: International Crisis Group, p. ii.

[31] Center for American Progress (2007) ‘Enough is Enough: Prospects for Peace in Northern Uganda,’ Center for American Progress, /2007/03/uganda_event.html, accessed 15th December 2010

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.


Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

Disclaimer, Terms and Conditions