Uganda (MNN) — The Lord's Resistance Army, a sectarian
religious and military group, has
operated a network of terror in northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of
Congo, Central African Republic, and Southern Sudan since 1987.
Kony popularized the horror of conscripting children into his army, and
scores of Uganda's future began disappearing. The group
murdered tens of thousands of Ugandans and displaced nearly 2 million more
between 1986 and 2006, but according to the U.S. State Department, there have
been no LRA attacks in Uganda since August 2006.
Eventually, Kony was chased out of Uganda and was being hunted down in
the DRC with limited success.
Since he has operated with impunity for over 20 years, there are questions about why the U.S. finally made the decision to help. President Barack Obama dispatched about 100
U.S. special operations forces to advise in the fight against the LRA.
There's no deadline for the military
mission to be completed, and Lee DeYoung with Words
of Hope says Ugandan staff greeted the move with some
skepticism. "Initial reaction was
one of surprise that the United States would have gotten involved with this.
Kony has been active for decades, and 'why now?' is the question that naturally
has sprung to many of the people's minds."
On the one hand, people would welcome the capture and end of
both Kony and the LRA's threat. On the
other, "There's also particular
sensitivity to the fact that, within the last three years, there's been
possible oil exploration, and there is widespread suspicion that the timing of
this coming now may have something to do with getting some kind of access to
Joshua Ssali, Program Coordinator of Words of Hope Uganda, makes sure that
broadcasts go out in Luo, Luganda, and Bari. The hope of the Gospel is meeting an obvious need. "At the end of every program, there is an overwhelming number of phone calls and text messages
coming in: at the station of broadcast, to the programmers, and here at the
office. People are hungry for the Word and need prayer seriously."
Luo Producer Charles Owiny Abata agrees. "Many are returning to church and
recommitting their lives. Others are joining full-time ministry in church, and
they say they are tired of living purposeless lives. May the Lord continue to
uphold the ministry. And please convey our thanks to the ministry partners and sponsors."
Kony's footprint could have left confusion behind, notes
DeYoung. "Despite the use of the
term Lord's Resistance Army, it has definitely not been a Christian-friendly
movement. It's really a misnomer. In fact, many suspect that there has been
real engagement with the occult and the demonic on behalf of Kony and the LRA."
All the more reason to broadcast Words of
Hope. There's more here.