The LRA has institutionalized physical and psychological violence, including killings, rape and other forms of torture. The effect on civilians is to breed fear and force acquiescence; the consequence of being found to have informed the authorities about LRA activity is simple and brutal. However, the violence is not just directed "outwards" at the civilian population or captured UPDF soldiers. It is also used in a calculated and deliberate way to enforce discipline within the LRA itself. The abuses described below are a fundamental method of organization aimed at the destruction of individual will and morality. It begins with forcible abduction to be a soldier or porter.
An army that feeds on children
Without abducted children the LRA would have few soldiers. Since 1994 child abduction has become the main method of recruitment. According to World Vision Uganda, which since March 1995 has provided psycho-social counselling for over 3,000 former LRA soldiers, approximately 47% were aged between 11 and 16 when taken. A further 36% were between 17 and 22 years old. Approximately 30% of abducted people seen by World Vision have been female; of these 54% have been aged between 11 and 16.(12)
Abducted children embark on a journey in hell. Abduction is itself an act of violence, ripping terrified children from the security of their families. It is often accompanied by killings, rape and severe beatings. B., a 14-year-old girl, was abducted in February 1997:
R., a 45-year-old woman, described what happened when her children were taken from Paicho near Gulu in 1996:
"Mother, get out of the hut and let the boy show us the way" by A.
O.J., 15 years old, was abducted from a village south of Gulu in November 1996: