I did not know any history of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, and just assumed it was another right-wing fundamental denomination gone bad. The Lord’s Resistance Army, in fact, has nothing to do with Jesus, nor Christianity. It is a tool of Satan to destroy lives. In John 10:10 Jesus states the plans of Satan in a nut shell, “The thief [satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy”. (John 10:10a) Conversely, the plan of God is also given in the subsequent clause, “I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10b)
It is the overarching story of all our lives and every people. Satan wants to destroy them, Jesus wants to bless then and give them an abundant life. For decades the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda was used by Satan to destroy lives, especially children, in the nation of Uganda. The story of the birth and decline of the LRA is a demonic one, and a war which required spiritual weapons as well as mechanical ones. What Jesus says is true:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
The following gives the historical background and decline of the LRA in Uganda. Normally, we would only hear of victories over terrorists in terms of land conquered and lives lost, but the book “Overcoming the Powers of Hell” does an excellent job in explaining the spiritual side of the war against the LRA. John Miles, the author describes:
“Northern Uganda has been an area of unusually high demonic activity for many generations. The area has a history of witchcraft and sorcery that spawned almost every kind of evil that mankind has experienced. In folklore and documentation there are accounts of violence, rape, mutilation, burning, torture, robbery, slavery, abduction, child sacrifice, cannibalism and , as always, the all-pervading corruption that blights so much of Africa. Just a few weeks ago, while writing this book, a Ugandan friend of the author had his four year old boy abducted and ritualistically murdered- sacrificed to the spirits. This is not mythology, it is real! In return for surrendering their lives to Satan, the sorcerers and practitioners of witchcraft gain power to do supernatural things that impress and cause fear in others. For scriptural examples of this see Exodus 11 and 22.
“We know from the Bible that there are many kids of evil spirits, also known as demons. One of the types that the Bible particularly warns us about are those that empower false prophets and false teachers. Some biblical scholars refer to these as ‘religious spirits’. These were the spirits that empowered the heart of this movement in northern Uganda. Many other evil powers would be swept along in its train, but it was essentially a religious cult. Its name confused many who did not know its religious nature. It was called ‘The Lord’s Resistance Army’ or ‘The LRA’.
“The outpouring of evil that accompanied the LRA incursions into northern Uganda did not have its origin with their leaders Joseph Kony. We have to go back to a shadowy cult leader called Severino Lukoya. His movement was small, but religious in character. He claimed to be possessed by seventy-one spirits. The leaders and most powerful of this spirit group would loudly proclaim, “I am the Spirit of God the Father.”
“His powers were passed on to his daughter, a former prostitute, Alice Auma, born January 2nd, 1956. She took the movement to a new level calling it ‘The Holy Spirit Movement.’
“In a witchcraft ceremony she invited a powerful religious spirit called Lakwena, which means messenger or apostle in the Acholi language, to possess her. She soon became known as Alice Lakwena. As a result of the ceremony she went mad and was unable to hear or speak. Her father took her to eleven witchdoctors for a cure, but all failed. They had their own proven powers, but none could touch the powerful demon that Alice had invited into her spirit. It is said that she was then guided by the spirit to the Murchison Falls National Park. It is said that here she disappeared for forty days beneath the waters of the River Nile, only to re-emerge as a ‘spirit medium’ and set up her base near Gulu.
“She began to gather a lot of devoted followers, up to 10,000 at the movement’s height. Her followers called her ‘Your Holiness’. She is said to have had the power to heal AIDS and give sight to the blind. With her rag-tag army she rebelled against the government. She convinced her fighters that if they smeared ‘Holy Oil’ over their bodies they would be immune to bullets. Also, the rocks they threw would become grenades in flight. They ran into battle, high on drugs, wearing witchcraft amulets and trinkets, clapping and singing. Her fighters were mown down by the modern weapons of the Uganda People’s Defense Force, thus providing the blood that she was required to deliver as her part of the covenant which she had made with Satan while in the national park. Her reward for the covenant was receiving supernatural power. She was finally stopped near the town of Jinja in central Uganda, barely an hour’s travel from the capital Kampala. People followed her because of her healing powers. However, all such healings are conditional. There is always a price to pay. The same sickness, or some other, comes back later, worse. Alternatively, the patient suffers mental breakdown or moral debauchery. In these covenants, of which there are many in the world, there is only one winner and it is never the patient! The aim of the whole system is always the same- premature death.
“Alice fled to a refugee camp in Kenya and died in January 2007 of unknown causes- her time was up. She now had her own price to pay for the evil life she had chosen to live.
“We would all wish it had ended there. Unfortunately, a new personality took on the satanic family mantle. Her young cousin Joseph Kony, a high school dropout, stepped up to cut his own deal with the devil. With each generation the spiritual inheritance becomes more powerful, until its course is run and ends with the third or fourth generation, or God steps in to put an end to it. The power he wielded and the resulting evil was beyond anything so far seen. As Joseph Kony strode to center stage, northern Uganda trembled and the world looked on in horror.
“He first communed with the spirits and then began to gather elements of the pervious movement around him. He called his group ‘The Lord’s Resistance Army’. The spirits presented him as a ‘christ’ figure who would save his people. Thus he completed an unholy trinity formed by himself, Severino Lukoya and Alice Auma- A false father, false spirit and an anti-christ. The constant theme of them all was a pseudo-religious cult.
“Mr. Musa (leader of a militia called “Arrow Boys”) and his Arrow Boys, working with the UPLA (Ugandan People’s Liberation Army) empowered by faith and prayer of the churches in Teso, had driven the LRA out of their homelands. The soldiers and officers of the Ugandan People’s Defense Force had shown great courage and commitment, only to be frustrated by the evil powers that controlled Kony and his thugs. Their training and equipment was far superior to the rebels and if they could only engage them in open battle, they could easily defeat the enemy. They searched the region for the LRA, following up reports of their activities and camp sites. However, when they arrived, the LRA was always gone. Evidence of their stay was tragically plentiful, but most of the time the rebels themselves had been warned by the spirits and they moved on.
“Former rebel commander Kenneth Banya told how spirit voices would speak to them and warn them of the number of the government forces and the direction from which they were coming. Kony’s prophetic powers greatly enhanced his mystique with his men. Eye witnesses tell how the rebel camps were set out in mystic patterns and symbols. Special rites, blood covenants, charms, chants, drugs, incantations, ritual cannibalism, snakes, ‘sacred’ water and drumming were all employed to bring down the spirits to possess Kony and his people. Kony himself reported to a council of seven spirits.
“He frequented special sites to which he needed to return every six months as he felt his power diminishing. Most important among these were Awere Hill and Kilak Hills. In these places he would commune with powerful spirits that resided there and his power would be renewed. As the spirit power diminished he would become friendlier and laugh and joke with his men. But when the spirits’ power was renewed in him he became unpredictable and dangerous. He killed at least twenty-eight of his own children and three of his wives as blood offerings. No one could oppose him. Anyone who dared to disagree with him was severely dealt with.
“There is a whole generation that has not known peace, growing to adulthood only knowing fear and disruption. In the camps they have no education or adequate healthcare. Poverty and emotional trauma is their experience for years. People sink into moral corruption, sexual depravity and crime. They have little faith in God and turn to the very witchcraft that put them there. They have lost their homes, businesses and livelihood. Many are handicapped with bullet or machete wounds or lost limbs. Many have succumbed to sheer hopelessness and depression, causing the suicide rate to soar.
“Even the churches and Christian leaders failed to speak out or act. If there was going to be a final victory over this darkness, something spiritual and more powerful than the evil forces that strode across the land needed to be employed.
“Providentially, God began to move among the churches in the southern parts of Uganda. They recognized that their country north of the Nile was under the control of evil. The Spirit of God began to rise up within the churches, bringing a strong conviction that something should and more importantly, could be done about the situation. Suddenly, they became acutely aware of the bloodshed and the lost history of idolatry; that the land of Acholi was crying out for deliverance. The Spirit of God spoke a prophetic word and told them to declare war on witchcraft and idolatry. The response of the churches was nights of prayer and fasting. They knew this was the only way to unlock the situation and bring the power of God to bear.
“After some prayer, it was decided that the military would transport groups of selected believers to each LRA altar site. Military helicopters and armed convoys were used where necessary. It was a very dangerous trip for each of the groups. The believers were to destroy each site and alter in the name of the Lord. To attempt this would was certain death- not from the LRA, but from the spirits. Most of the LRA themselves would not dare to enter these sites. It was only Kony and a few of his most powerful elite that dared to enter. This was now a historical and strategic alliance between the government, the military and the Church. Everyone realized that the Church was the key.
“The first place they visited was Awere Hill, the most important site for Kony. This was the place where he received his power and was the source of his precious and powerful ‘sacred water’. Only he dared to climb this rock and collect the water. For others to attempt this meant death, such was the evil power of this place. When the soldiers arrived, they were reluctant to go near. Three times they were ordered to climb the rock, but they refused. They would rather face military punishment than risk touching the rock. One officer led the way and began to climb. He died immediately.
“Thus it was in March 2003 that a group of godly men, in an awesome display of faith and courage, defied the powers of hell and began to climb Awere Hill. Operation Gideon was under way. The men of God climbed to the top unharmed. Then they all held hands and cried in a loud voice, “The Lord is God, the Lord is God.”
“In a bold challenge to Kony’s most powerful spirit, they made scoops from leaves and scooped out the water from the pool until it was drained. It simply ran down the sun baked rocks and evaporated. None of them died or suffered any ill effects- the power was broken. The soldiers who stood a safe distance from the rock observed with astonishment. They began praying and raising their hands in worship, submitting their lives to the living God.
“One of the other groups visiting another LRA worship site at Awach made a shocking discovery. As they destroyed the altar, they discovered beneath it the remains of a burned human body that had been sacrificed to the spirits of that place.
“Kony instantly felt his power draining away. Upon his capture, Kony’s top aide, Brig. Gen. Kenneth Banya, quoted the rebel leaders as saying, ‘The spirits have left me and it is all the fault of those Christians.’
“All of the LRA sacred sites were being systematically destroyed. The destruction of the sites was followed by prayer meetings all over the district. Kony called his commanders together and warned them that the spirits had left him and his power was gone. One eye witness recalled his words: ‘I have to inform you that today the spirits have left me and they will not come back.’
“As the autumn of 2004 approached, the Acholi district began to come back to life. Vehicles were again seen on the roads. People returned to their plots of land and built huts and houses. Businesses were resumed and churches reopened. New churches began to spring up. Many former rebels repented and gave their lives to Christ. Even some former witchdoctors and sorcerers repented and were born again.”
(All book excerpts from “Overcoming the Powers of Hell” by John Miles and Beatrice Omese. New Wine Ministries, Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom, 2009.)
It is estimated that Joseph Kony has abducted more than 104,000 children since 1986. Far more people have been murdered, raped and abused. More than two million people have been forced from their homes and villages because of Joseph Kony. He remains at large, and moves around the rural jungle areas of Northern Uganda, Northeast Congo and Southern Sudan.