Content presented from Save the Children's Resource Centre. Click here to see the full library »

Indoctrinate the Heart to Impunity: Rituals, culture and control within the Lord's Resistance Army

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has terrorized civilians in four countries across central Africa for more than two decades. The group is estimated to be responsible for the abduction of between 60,000 and 100,000 children and the displacement of over 2.5 million people across Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The group is able to create a footprint of terror disproportionate to its numbers through the perpetration of visible and extreme violence, including torture, mutilation and massacres. 

The cult-like qualities of the LRA—its magical rites and beliefs, its longevity and the enduring loyalty of its senior combatants—have long captured the attention of the world. This report provides a rare insight into one of the most secretive groups in Africa by drawing on the narratives of more than one hundred former combatants and abductees from four countries.Some of the most notable data comes from mid-level combatants who were interviewed for this project just days after leaving the group. This is one of the only systematic efforts to gain insight into the internal command and decision-making structure of the LRA using qualitative data collected after the group moved out of northern Uganda in 2006 and into the DRC, the CAR and South Sudan.

Published 2019-01-04