I welcome Barack Obama’s decision to deploy 100 military advisers in Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo in an attempt to tame the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
In a letter to Congress, Mr Obama said: “These forces will act as advisers to partner forces that have the goal of removing from the battlefield Joseph Kony and other senior leadership of the LRA.”
It’s a courageous decision. The last time US ground forces were sent into Africa was the infamous “Black Hawk Down” incident in Somalia in 1993, when 18 US military personnel died in a botched attempt to capture a warlord.
The LRA, under the leadership of Joseph Kony, a self-styled mystic and religious prophet, has been terrorising, murdering, raping and kidnapping thousands of people in the region for a couple of decades. Kony, who claims he can read people’s minds, perform magic and talk to God, is wanted by the International Criminal Court to answer charges relating to war crimes. His marauding troops largely comprise kidnapped children.
May God have mercy on Joseph Kony. I wouldn’t.
Here’s a poem/lyric I wrote a few years ago from the perspective of one of Kony’s child soldiers:
Every night I used to hide
In buses north of town.
They found me and my mama cried.
I’m in the army now.
Mister Kony, rebel chief,
We promise to obey.
Disciples with a great belief,
We’re in the LRA.
Twelve years old and forced to fight
To make your dream come true,
We’re never sure if this is right
And yet we follow you.
Cannot run and cannot hide.
You’ll kill us if we do.
I’ve seen what’s left of those who tried
And so I know it’s true.
Had to prove that I was tough.
I killed my dad and mum.
Now my mind is strong enough,
Although my heart is numb.
Serve the prophet all our lives –
That’s what we have to do.
My sister’s one of Kony’s wives.
She serves in her way too.
So I’m in the killing fields,
And see those bullets fly!
We got no weapons, got no shields,
But we’re not gonna die.
A cross of oil upon our chests –
The only shield we need.
We’ll march and fight without a rest
Until we do succeed.
We’re Joseph Kony’s warriors,
A trail of fires behind.
Ugandan troops don’t worry us,
As we have God inside.
Joseph Kony, Joseph Kony,
We’re not afraid to die.
We’ll kill ’em all if you would only
Tell us how, not why.
Joseph Kony, rebel chief,
I only seek to please.
Wrap me in your great belief!
I’m down here on my knees.
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