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Map of Northern Uganda

Northern Uganda

Chronology of Key Events in Northern Uganda Conflict

August 2006

  • Members of Kony's family, Acholi elders and leaders as well as journalists travel to Garamba and meet him. Kony calls for a ceasefire and asks for forgiveness for atrocities against civilians. The Uganda government refuses to consider demands for a ceasefire.
  • Vincent Otti declares a unilateral ceasefire. The Uganda government still refuses, wanting to first see the effect on the ground, but eventually agrees with conditions and requests for international help to monitor the ceasefire.
  • One of the LRA indicted leaders Raska Lukwiya is killed by the UPDF and the peace talks are adjourned as the LRA goes into mourning.

July 2006

  • President Museveni orders for the immediate formation of a commando battalion to wipe out the remnants of the LRA rebels in northern Uganda.
  • The Commander of the Land Forces, Lt. Gen. Katumba Wamala, says the government will install alarm systems in resettlement homes in northern Uganda to fight insecurity.
  • Ugandan negotiators make initial contact with the LRA to agree on modalities for peace talks.
  • President Museveni announces that Uganda will grant total amnesty to Joseph Kony despite his indictment by the ICC if he responds positively to the Southern Sudan mediated talks and abandons terrorism. LRA leaders Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti accept the amnesty offer. The ICC insists that indicted LRA leaders must be arrested.
  • President Museveni names an eight-man team for peace talks with the LRA led by internal affairs minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda. LRA declines to sent its top leaders among its 17-man delegation to Juba for peace talks.
  • The LRA delegation demands that the UPDF be disbanded for being a partisan army and composed of one ethnic group. The Uganda government formally demands a withdrawal of the statement.
  • A fire outbreak destroys up to 300 huts in Anaka internally-displaced persons camp in Gulu, leaving 1500 people homeless.
  • The Ugandan government starts implementing a six-month emergency plan to resettle thousands of people in the eastern region displaced by the 20-year old northern war.
  • Ugandan government negotiators storm out of the peace talks when the LRA insists a ceasefire should be the first item discussed. The Uganda government argues that the rest of the agenda must be dealt with first. The peace talks go into recess without any conclusions.

June 2006

  • Interpol issues Red Notices for arrest of indicted LRA commanders.
  • U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi Frazer visits Uganda and discusses the situation in Northern Uganda with President Museveni. She also visits IDP camps in Gulu. At a press conference, she tells reporters that peace must be a priority.
  • LRA leader Vincent Otti invites the ICC to send a team to Garamba National Park – "without the arrest warrant" – to hear the LRA "side of the story".

May 2006

  • Southern Sudan Vice President Riek Machar meets Kony and gives him $20,000 "to buy food, not ammunition" and defends it saying it will stop the LRA looting and killing and also help start peace talks.
  • President Museveni rules out further peace talks with Kony and then shortly afterwards, receives a message from Kony through Machar requesting peace talks.
  • Museveni offers Kony a peace deal.
  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) insists that Uganda must arrest the wanted LRA leaders.
  • Kony asks the ICC to drop the indictments.
  • The UPDF vows to maintain military pressure on the LRA, saying that Kony has sent mixed signals before and therefore cannot be trusted to keep his word.

April 2006

  • UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland declares the 20-year conflict in northern Uganda "the world's worst form of terrorism" during a visit to Patongo camp for the displaced in Pader district.
  • The Ugandan government refutes a report by NGOs that there are more deaths in camps for the displaced in northern Uganda than in Iraq. In a strongly worded statement, the government calls the report "sensational" and "inaccurate".

March 2006

  • UPDF announces that Joseph Kony has joined his deputy, Vincent Otti, in the Garamba National Park in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after leaving his hideout in southern Sudan.
  • Government officials say a new, comprehensive joint strategy to redevelop northern Uganda is being discussed. The Joint Country Coordination and Monitoring Committee (JCCMC) on northern Uganda would be coordinated by the prime minister and involve all stakeholders.
  • Officials from the International Criminal Court hold a series of consultations with religious and traditional leaders and NGOs in northern and eastern Uganda.
  • NGOs issue a report saying some 146 people die each week in northern Uganda. The report, "Counting the Cost: 20 years of war in northern Uganda", was prepared by 50 aid agencies working in the region.

January 2006

  • Acholi paramount community chief, Rwot David Onen Acana II, calls on the LRA rebels and the government to make 2006 a year of peace for the Acholi by engaging in dialogue.

December 2005

  • LRA deputy chief Vincent Otti expresses interest in rekindling peace talks and even facing trial at the ICC, but the Ugandan government dismisses the possibility and reaffirms its commitment to a military solution. Some northern Ugandans urge the government to accept the LRA's offer to negotiate, while others express fear that the LRA's offer is insincere.

November 2005

  • Sudanese and Ugandan militaries agree to conduct joint operations against the LRA in southern Sudan, where LRA attacks have been increasingly concentrated.

October 2005

  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) issues arrest warrants for Joseph Kony and four other top LRA commanders, sparking both hope for an end to the conflict and fears that the warrants will slow the peace process.
  • Tens of thousands march in Global GuluWalk Day in over 35 cities worldwide, calling attention to the "night commuters" and child victims of northern Uganda.

September 2005

  • LRA deputy chief Vincent Otti and 300 LRA rebels flee to the DR Congo, sparking tensions between Uganda and the DR Congo about the best way to disarm the rebels. Though Otti later leaves, some LRA rebels continue to carry out attacks in the region.

August 2005

  • The death of Sudanese VP and former SPLM leader John Garang threatens renewed instability in southern Sudan and hurts efforts to curb LRA activity there.
  • World Health Organization releases a report that reveals over 1,000 people die every week in northern Uganda's IDP camps from disease, violence, and starvation.

April 2005

  • President Museveni meets with top military officials in Lira and Gulu to plan "the final push against the LRA."

December 2004

  • LRA spokespersons declare their willingness to end the conflict, however on December 31, a scheduled signing of cessation falls apart after the LRA says they are not ready to sign.

April 2004

  • Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary-General on Humanitarian Affairs, briefs the UN Security Council on the situation in northern Uganda. The next day Pres. Museveni makes a statement expressing readiness for peace talks with the LRA in mutually-agreed safe areas under international monitoring.

February 2004

  • Over 300 people killed in an LRA attack on the Barlonyo IDP camp in Lira district.
  • Betty Bigombe returns to Uganda from the U.S. to try and mediate peace negotiations between the LRA and the government.

December 2003

  • President Museveni refers the LRA to the International Criminal Court (ICC0 to determine if the LRA is guilty of international war crimes.

June 2003

  • The LRA insurgency spreads to the Lango and Teso regions but by December, the LRA is repulsed by a combination of the UPDF and the local people fighting.

December 2002

  • Joseph Kony is aired on Radio Mega FM in Gulu, expresses his willingness to engage in peace talks

March 2002

  • Sudan and Uganda sign agreement allowing the UPDF to enter Sudanese sovereign territory and attack the LRA in an operation called "Operation Iron Fist". In return, SPLA not allowed to operate in and from, or to be assisted by, Uganda.
  • Kony evades capture, but the rebels are forced out of Sudan, back into Northern Uganda and begin to carry out atrocities on the population on a scale of brutality not seen since the late 90s.

December 2001

  • The United States declares the LRA an official terrorist organization. Sudan cuts links with the LRA in an endeavor to restore ties with Uganda.

January 2000

  • The Ugandan government passes the Amnesty Act, giving amnesty to LRA rebels who surrender and denounce the rebellion.

December 1999

  • The Carter Center facilitates the 1999 Nairobi Accord between Sudan and Uganda, which begins to normalize relationships and end hostilities between the two.


  • The government announces policy to move rural northern Ugandans into IDP camps in order to better protect them from the LRA.

July 1995

  • Uganda ratifies a new Constitution and the NRA becomes the national army, the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF).

February 1994

  • The peace talks collapse and President Museveni declares a seven-day ultimatum for the rebels to surrender, thus ending the Bigombe initiative.
  • LRA fighters cross the northern border and established bases in southern Sudan with the approval of the Khartoum government. The Sudanese aid is in response to Ugandan support for the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).
  • With increased military strength, Kony targets even more civilians. Mutilations become commonplace and forced mass abductions of children and young people begin.

June 1993

  • Betty Bigombe initiates peace negotiations with Joseph Kony and the LRA for the first time.

March 1991

  • The Ugandan government launches Operation North, a military campaign attempting to end the rebel conflict and also using heavy-handed tactics to end any support among the Acholi. The Minister in Charge of the North, Betty Bigombe, starts arming the population with bows and arrows as a form of local defence.
  • Kony, feeling that his support among the people has waned, begins to mutilate those believed to be government supporters. The reaction only serves to turn most of the people against the rebellion.

July 1990

  • The Addis Adaba Accord is signed, integrating more UPDM/A into the NRM central government. The UPDM/A ceases to exist, but some rebels (now LRA) continue to fight.

June 1988

  • The Gulu Peace Accord is signed, giving the UPDA combatants amnesty and most of them come out of the "bush". Discussion of the Northern reconstruction program starts.

November 1987

  • Acholi spiritualist Alice Lakwena leads UPDA and other rebels from her Holy Spirit Movement on a march to overthrow President Museveni but is defeated less than 60 miles outside Kampala.
  • Her cousin, former altar boy Joseph Kony gathers support from remaining insurgents to form the rebel group, first called Lord's Salvation Army; then United Christian Salvation Army that would later become the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in 1994.

January 1986

  • Northerners in the civil service and military flee to northern Uganda and Sudan after the new NRM government takes power. They start the Uganda People's Democratic Movement/Army (UPDM/A) to oppose the NRA. Fighting is only in Acholiland.