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The Lord's Resistance Army is a feared guerilla terrorist organization based in northern Uganda. Founded in 1987 by a high-school dropout named Joseph Kony, the LRA has spent the past 22 years trying to overthrow the government of Yoweri Museveni, with the intention of turning Uganda into theocracy ostensibly based upon Christianity (though Kony preaches a mix of Christianity, Islam, mysticism, witchcraftm and traditional Ugandan beliefs.) Its leadership is built up of cast-offs from Alice Auma's Holy Spirit Movement, which was notable for both its bizarre practices and surprising efficiency, and from the Uganda People's Defense Army. Its current troop strength is estimated to be somewhere between 500 and 3,000 soldiers.
The LRA is notable for its sheer ruthlessness. It has been known to kidnap children (primarily those from the Acholi nation), forcing boys to become soldiers and girls to become sex slaves. Its enemies have often ended up mutilated or murdered. Fear of the group has driven thousands of Ugandans into refugee camps. In recent years, the LRA has lost some of its senior members, like deputy-leader Vincent Otti, who died in 2007, but it has only grown in its scope, thanks to funding from the government of Sudan, which has hired some of the LRA's forces to help it quell a southern Sudanese insurgency backed by Museveni's government. Its troops have also appeared in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In Law & Order lore, the LRA kidnapped Ugandan-born Elijah Okello and Miriam Burdette. Elijah was forced to become a child soldier, while Miriam was forced to become the sex slave of Joseph Serumaga, an LRA general whose brutality had earned him the nickname "Devil of Gulu". Both Elijah and Miriam managed to escape, however; Elijah and several other former child soldiers managed to flee to New York City, and Miriam was able to run all the way to Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, where she was adopted by Father Theo Burdette, a pastor from Staten Island.
In recent years, Joseph Serumaga left the LRA and moved to Manhattan to escape war crimes charges, posing as former child soldier Samuel Mbazzi. He got a job as a janitor, but was seen by Miriam, who by that point had befriended Elijah through her adopted father's congregation. Elijah began to see Miriam as a little sister, and when she told him that she had seen her former enslaver, he swore to avenge her. Serumaga got word of Okello's intentions, and attacked Miriam one night while Elijah was busy looking for him. He slashed the poor girl's throat and left her for dead, but the cold air that night slowed down her blood flow, preventing her from bleeding to death.
The incident was investigated by the Manhattan Special Victims Unit, who initially suspected Okello, but a picture of a devil drawn by Miriam pointed the police in the direction of Serumaga. Serumaga was arrested and deported to the Hague to face prosecution. However, the ICE wanted to charge Okello as well, and thus Elijah panicked and took hostages at Theo Burdette's church. Though Detective Elliot Stabler managed to convince him to release the hostages, he could not bear the thought of being put on trial, and thus charged on the police who'd assembled to arrest him and was shot dead. With his last words he told Mirriam this would help people see the horror of the child soldiers. (SVU: "Hell")
Known Members Edit
- Joseph Kony, founder and spiritual leader
- Vincent Otti, former deputy-leader; deceased
- Joseph Serumaga, former general nicknamed the "Devil of Gulu"; currently deported to the Hague to face sentencing for war crimes
- Miriam Burdette, former sex slave to Joseph Serumaga; recently adopted by Father Theo Burdette and his wife Ondine
- Elijah Okello, former child soldier who later fled to New York City; deceased
- Rajiv, former child soldier, and roommate of Elijah Okello
- Nathaniel, former child soldier and roommate of Elijah Okello