Joseph Kony: Wikis


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Joseph Kony
Born Joseph Kony
1961 [1]
Odek, Uganda
Nationality Ugandan
Title Leader of the Lord's Resistance Army
Religion Syncretism
Spouse(s) Is thought to have over 60 wives [2]
Children Thought to have 42 children [3]

Joseph Kony (born 1961) is the head of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a guerrilla group that is engaged in a violent campaign to establish theocratic government in Uganda, which claims to be based on the Christian Bible and the Ten Commandments.[1] The LRA, which earned a reputation for its actions against the people of northern Uganda, has abducted an estimated 30,000 children and displaced 1.6 million people since its rebellion began in 1986.[4][5][6]



Joseph Kony was born in the village of Odek, a village east of Gulu in northern Uganda in 1961[1][2] Kony was the son of farmers. He was friendly to his siblings, but if they crossed him he came down hard on them.[7] During his teenage years, Joseph Kony apprenticed as the village witch doctor under his older brother, Benon Okello, and when his older brother died, he took over full responsibility.[8] When confronted he often resorted to his fists rather than parrying verbally. He was teased in school about his size and the teachers gave him a hard time because he didn't seem too bright. His father was a lay apostle of the Catholic Church and his mother was an Anglican, Kony was an altar boy for several years. He stopped attending church at about the age of 15.[7] A high-school dropout, Kony first came to prominence in January 1986, in his mid 20s. His group was one of many premillennialist groups that sprang up in Acholiland in the wake of the wildly popular Holy Spirit Movement of Alice Auma (aka Lakwena). However, the conflict in the north began in the resentment among the Acholi at their relative loss of influence after the overthrow of Acholi President Tito Okello by Yoweri Museveni and his National Resistance Army (NRA) during the Ugandan Bush War, ending in 1986.

Originally Kony's group was named the United Holy Salvation Army (UHSA) and was not perceived as a threat by the NRA. By 1988, with the accord between NRA and the Uganda People's Democratic Army and addition of its remnant troops as well as forced recruitment of children the United Holy Salvation Army was becoming a formidable resistance army. The bulk of his foot soldiers were children. He is estimated to have taken 104,000 or more boys and girls since the LRA started fighting in 1986. He often killed their family and neighbors when abducting these children, forcing them to fight for him.[7] With these remnants of UPDA was commander Odong Latek, who convinced Kony to use standard military tactics as opposed to its previous attempts which involved attacking in cross-shaped formations and the use of holy water. The new tactics proved successful and the UHSA delivered several small but stinging defeats against the NRA. After these victories the NRA responded by significantly weakening the Kony's group with political actions and a military campaign named Operation North.

By 1992, Kony had renamed the group United Democratic Christian Army and it was at this time that they kidnapped 44 girls from the Sacred Heart Secondary and St. Mary's girls schools.[9] Operation North was devastating to what would become the Lord's Resistance Army and with their number reduced from thousands to hundreds still engaged in retaliatory attacks on civilians and NRA collaborators.

The Bigombe talks in 1993 led to more insight into Joseph Kony. Betty Bigombe remembered that the first time she met Kony, his followers used oil to ward-off bullets and evil spirits.[10] Also in a letter regarding future talks, Kony stated that he must consult the Holy Spirit. When the talks did occur they insisted on participation of religious leaders and opened the proceedings with prayers led by LRA's Director of Religious Affairs Jenaro Bongomi. Finally in the 1994 peace talks Kony appeared preceded by men in robes sprinkling holy water.[11]

Many international attempts at peace and an end to the abduction of children by Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army occurred between 1996 and 2001. All of them failed to end the abductions, rape, child soldiers, and civilian casualties including attacks on refugee camps. After the September 11th attacks the United States declared the Lord's Resistance Army a terrorist group and Joseph Kony a terrorist.[12]

Joseph Kony was thought to have been possessed by spirits; he has been portrayed as either the Messiah or the devil. He reportedly made annual trips to the Ato Hills in Uganda. He would allegedly ascend to the highest of the hills and lie down in the hot sun for days. He would be covered by a blanket of red termites that slashed deeply into his skin. Oil from a plant called Yao was spread over his body. Then he would enter a cave and stay in seclusion for weeks. The direction he gave to children was even more absurd - he told them if they drew a cross on their chest with oil they would be protected from bullets.[7] Kony insists that he and the Lord's Resistance Army are fighting for the Ten Commandments. “Yes, we are fighting for Ten Commandments,” “Is it bad? It is not against human rights. And that commandment was not given by Joseph. It was not given by LRA. No, those commandments were given by God.”



Lord's Resistance Army
Ugandan districts affected by Lords Resistance Army.png

Juba talks

Related articles

Lord's Resistance Army
Holy Spirit Movement
Alice Auma
Joseph Kony

On October 6, 2005 it was announced by the International Criminal Court (ICC) that arrest warrants had been issued for five members of the Lord's Resistance Army for crimes against humanity following a sealed indictment. On the next day Ugandan defense minister Amama Mbabazi revealed that the warrants include Joseph Kony, his deputy Vincent Otti, and LRA commanders Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odiambo and Dominic Ongwen. According to spokesmen for the military, the Ugandan army killed Lukwiya on August 12, 2006.[14]

A week later, on October 13, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo released details on Kony's indictment. There are 33 charges, 12 counts are crimes against humanity, which include murder, enslavement, sexual enslavement and rape. There are another 21 counts of war crimes which include murder, cruel treatment of civilians, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population, pillaging, inducing rape, and forced enlisting of children into the rebel ranks. Ocampo said that "Kony was abducting girls to offer them as rewards to his commanders."

The Ugandan military has attempted to kill Kony for most of the insurgency.

On July 31, 2006 Kony met with several cultural, political, and religious leaders from northern Uganda at his hideout in the Congolese forests to discuss the war. The following day, August 1, he crossed the border into Sudan to speak with Southern Sudan Vice President Riek Machar. Kony later told reporters that he would not be willing to stand trial at the ICC because he had not done anything wrong.

On November 12, 2006 Kony met Jan Egeland, the United Nations Undersecretary-General for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief. Kony told Reuters: "We don't have any children. We only have combatants."[15]

On August 28, 2008, the United States Treasury Department placed Kony on its list of "Specially Designated Global Terrorists," a designation that carries financial and other penalties. It is unknown whether or not Kony has any assets that are affected by this designation.

On December 25, 2008, according to the United Nations peacekeeping force, rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) allegedly massacred 189 people and abducted 120 children during a celebration sponsored by the Catholic church in Faradje, Democratic Republic of Congo. Congo's army, along with armed forces from Uganda and Sudan, launched raids against LRA rebels in December 2008 intended to disarm the LRA and end its rebellion.

See also


  • Green, Matthew (2008). The Wizard of the Nile: The Hunt for Africa's Most Wanted. Portobello Books. ISBN 978-1846270307. 
  • Briggs, Jimmie (2005). The Innocents Lost: When Child soldiers Go to war. Basic Books. 


  1. ^ a b c The Independent - The deadly cult of Joseph Kony
  2. ^ a b BBC News - Profile: Joseph Kony
  3. ^ Portrait of Uganda's rebel prophet, painted by wives
  4. ^ Flight of the Child Soldiers
  5. ^ BBC News - UN envoy sees Uganda rebel chief
  6. ^ Buteera, Richard. The Reach Of Terrorist Financing And Combating It- The Links Between Terrorism And Ordinary Crime. International Society of Prosecutors. Washington, D.C.. 12 Aug 2003.[1]
  7. ^ a b c d Jimmie Briggs "Innocents Lost: When Child soldiers Go to war" 2005 p. 105-144
  8. ^ Peter Eichstaedt, First Kill Your Family: Child Soldiers of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army, p. 206
  10. ^ The Woman Behind Uganda's Peace Hopes - Betty Bigombe Put Life on Hold to Intercede in Northern war[3]
  11. ^ BBC - Profile: Ugandan rebel Joseph Kony
  12. ^ Philip T. Reeker (December 6, 2001). "Statement on the Designation of 39 Organizations on the USA PATRIOT Act's �Terrorist Exclusion List�". U.S. Department of State. 
  13. ^ I will use the Ten Commandments to liberate Uganda
  14. ^ "Ugandan army 'kills senior rebel'." BBC News. 13 August 2006. 15 Feb 2007. [4]
  15. ^ Kony told Reuters: "We don't have any children. We only have combatants."[5]

External links

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