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  • INTERNATIONAL WORKING GROUP ON THE LRA

    Diagnostic Study Of The Lords Resistance Army

    June 2011

    Philip Lancaster, Guillaume Lacaille, Ledio Cakaj

  • Copyright 2011 The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank 1818 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20433 The findings, interpretations and conclusions herein are those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Transitional Demobilization and Reintegration Program (TDRP) donors, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/World Bank and its affiliated organizations, its Executive Directors, or the governments they represent. The International Working Group on the Lords Resistance Army (IWG-LRA) was initiated in June 2010 following a meeting of interested parties to coordinate their efforts on the LRA issue. In November 2010, the IWG-LRA commissioned this Diagnostic Study to inform its members and arrive at a common understanding of the issues and challenges facing the countries where the LRA is operating. The report was first shared with the IWG-LRA at its meeting of June 2011 and presented to the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) at its meeting on Negative Forces in September 2011.

  • iii

    Contents

    Introduction..................................................................................................................................................1

    Main Findings ...........................................................................................................................................1

    Section I - Background, objectives & approach and assessment of the LRA challenge................................3

    Background...............................................................................................................................................3

    Objectives and approach ..........................................................................................................................4

    Method.....................................................................................................................................................5

    Difficulty in a common assessment of the LRA challenge ........................................................................5

    Section II - Political Context..........................................................................................................................8

    Legacy of two successive failures .............................................................................................................8

    No consensus on the LRA issue ..............................................................................................................10

    The state-building school ................................................................................................................10

    The military solution school ............................................................................................................11

    The re-engagement school .............................................................................................................11

    Lost momentum at the regional and international levels ......................................................................12

    Regional mobilization without adequate resources...........................................................................12

    UN efforts to do more of the same, but better...............................................................................14

    The US strategy and international partners .......................................................................................15

    Local community leaders committed to keeping the door open for dialogue with the LRA..............16

    No credible collective response to the threat of the LRA has yet been articulated...............................17

    Section III An Operational History of the LRA ..........................................................................................19

    LRA general characteristics.....................................................................................................................19

    Secrecy ...............................................................................................................................................19

    Flexibility ............................................................................................................................................20

    Adaptability ........................................................................................................................................20

    Susceptibility to exogenous events ....................................................................................................21

    Predictability.......................................................................................................................................21

  • iv

    Command and control............................................................................................................................22

    Konys absolute power in the LRA ......................................................................................................22

    Konys role in the LRAs hierarchy ......................................................................................................23

    Dissent and a possible split in the LRA ...............................................................................................24

    Influence shifts from senior to younger commanders loyal to Kony .................................................25

    Operational strength in the LRA over the years A handful of hard-core fighters................................26

    Organizational structure.........................................................................................................................27

    1998....................................................................................................................................................27

    2008....................................................................................................................................................28

    2011....................................................................................................................................................29

    Modus operandi .....................................................................................................................................29

    Tactics and training ............................................................................................................................29

    Reconnaissance ..................................................................................................................................31

    Survival ...............................................................................................................................................31

    Ideology & religion .............................................................................................................................32

    Status..................................................................................................................................................34

    Communications.....................................................................................................................................35

    Weapons.................................................................................................................................................37

    Strategy ..................................................................................................................................................38

    Section IV - Military Context.......................................................................................................................39

    Geography ..............................................................................................................................................39

    LRA characteristics and capacities ..........................................................................................................41

    Available forces ......................................................................................................................................43

    Section V - Alternative Approaches ............................................................................................................45

    Arrest LRA leaders ..............................................................................................................................45

    Negotiation.........................................................................................................................................46

    Voluntary persuasion DDRRR ..........................................................................................................47

    Empowering local defense groups .....................................................................................................47

    Humanitarian and development approaches.....................................................................................48

    Conclusions.................................................................................................................................................49

    APPENDIX 1. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY ...........................................................................................51