Uganda: Fact Sheet
- Population: 25 million
- Government armed forces: 60,000
- Child soldiers: 15,000
- Government forces vs. Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)
- Government forces vs. other rebel groups
- LRA – Faction group led by Joseph Kony
- ADF - Allied Democratic Force; faction group
- WNBF - West Nile Bank Front; faction group
- The LRA has continued to abduct and recruit children in the name of the holy spirit
- Ugandan forces continue to capture and demobilize children from LRA’s ranks
Uganda's Current Conflict
Internal conflict in the North has increased dramatically since 2003 because of the improving of relations between Uganda and Sudan. In 2003, Uganda sent 10,000 armed forces into Sudan in order to push the LRA back into Uganda. With the resurgence of the LRA in Uganda came further ethnic and civil strife. Joseph Kony once again instilled fears of violence, death, and rape throughout the sectors of northern Uganda. The camps of government armed forces were continuously looted and widespread attacks continued on children and women throughout Uganda.
As the ravaging civil strife continued, Joseph Kony spread the presence of his faction to eastern Uganda as well. Uganda’s and other international diplomacy efforts continued to fail as insurgency rose to levels not seen since 1996. In September 2005, some members of the LRA began insurgency in DRC. The DRC was outraged and blamed Uganda for the failure to control the faction group. The two countries sent forces to line up at their respective borders in order to create a military presence. The LRA has continued to ravage northern Uganda despite constant international pressure.
Uganda's Use of Child Soldiers
Beginning in 2004, the LRA abducted and enlisted 2 children for every child demobilized by the Ugandan forces. With the government forces becoming more restless and turning to military conflict, child soldiers as young as 5 years old were often killed in the line of fire. Also, during 2004, mass abductions occurred in eastern Uganda as well. Often, these children were kidnapped in the obscurity of the night and beaten for hours in order to harden them for military life. Any sign of emotional weakness led directly to their brutal execution in front of all the other child soldiers. The child soldiers of Africa have come to be known as “Invisible Children.”
Once trained in the harsh forests of Africa and Sudan, child soldiers are used for many different purposes. Here are just some of the few disgraceful methods in which child soldiers are used:
- Combat duties on front lines
- Looting and raiding
- Killing one’s own family and other civilians
- Killing recaptured children
- Participating in cannibalistic punishments
Girls are also recruited by the LRA in order to satisfy the sick, sexual needs of the faction leaders. Girls were often forced into virtual slavery and torture. It is not uncommon for a girl to be beaten for hours every day.
- "Lord's Resistance Army." Wikipedia. 10 March 2007. 12 March 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord%27s_Resistance_Army>.
- "The use of children as soldiers in Africa." Relief Web. 15 May 2002. 6 March 2007 <http://www.reliefweb.int/library/documents/chilsold.htm>.
- "Uganda." Child Soldiers Global Report 2004. 2004. 10 March 2007 <http://www.child-soldiers.org/document_get.php?id=801>.
- "Uganda." Wikipedia. 11 March 2007. 12 March 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uganda>.