The Myth of Madness: Cold Rationality and ‘Resource’ Plunder by the Lord's Resistance Army

  • Bevan J
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This paper presents findings from research conducted in Northern Uganda into the organisation of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). It is a modest attempt to situate the LRA within the existing literature on intra-state war. The LRA is a group that sits uncomfortably with popular theoretical approaches to armed groups and insurgents, including the greed-grievance debate and related theories of rebel recruitment. In the absence of economic and social endowments with which to reward membership, the LRA abducts potential fighters from the civilian population in a way that is analogous to resource exploitation. The group has used its forcibly recruited combatants to accrue rents in the form of military aid from the Sudanese government in Khartoum. The civilian population has proved an exploitable resource in other ways, because as the target of aggression, it is the only means through which the leadership has been able to assert its influence in the region. The paper concludes that the group's leader, Joseph Kony, acts as rentier, by using this self-sustaining conflict to maintain his only source of political capita - the continued threat posed by the LRA.

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  • James Bevan

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