For the last two days, Twitter and Facebook have been flooded with posts about Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord who gained global infamy through the brutal tactics of his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). But as Michael Wilkerson writes for Foreign Policy, the realities of the group don't necessarily align with the #Kony2012 campaign and its now-viral film. As Wilkerson notes, the northern Ugandan area where the group was once most active is no longer a war zone, the group having fled to the Central African Republic (CAR) and the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Critics argue that even though U.S. Special Forces have now been deployed to the region, simply removing Kony from the fight will not necessarily end hostilities or do anything to help the thousands of child soldiers forced to fight for the group.
No one on either side of the current debate, however, is arguing that the LRA -- which has been operating with near impunity for over 20 years -- is not brutally violent or that Kony is anything but an internationally wanted war criminal. Here, we look at the terrible legacy of the group and its creep from a civil war into a regional terror group. Above, a picture made available on May 24, 2006, shows Kony, one of the world's most wanted men. In 2006, Kony said he was ready for peace with the Ugandan government, but his campaign of violence continued unabated.
WARNING: Some of the images that follow are graphic and will be upsetting to readers.