Insecurity and Inadequate Protection
Northerner's skepticism of the Government of Uganda's ability and willingness to protect them from violence dates back to the late 1980s, when military forces under the command of current President Yoweri Museveni were responsible for widespread massacres, destruction of valuable cattle stocks, and other human rights violations in northern Uganda. The ensuing policy of creating "protected villages" and the pursuit of a military solution to the LRA problem failed to provide adequate security for northerners, hardening their suspicions that civilian protection is not a government priority. The U.S. and international community are also responsible for the widespread insecurity, as they have failed to adequately press the Ugandan government to set benchmarks for improving protection and improve its human rights record.
Civilians in the north have ample reason to think that a military solution to the LRA problem is incapable of ensuring their security. The UPDF, the Ugandan national army, has been reluctant to provide security outside of camps and has instead concentrated its military operations on offensive measures, leaving displaced populations vulnerable to retaliatory LRA attacks. Operation Iron Fist, an offensive against the LRA launched by the UPDF in 2002, is a prime example of the failure of the military solution. Instead of weakening the LRA, the operation led to an increased frequency of LRA attacks on camps in northern Uganda and the expansion of the displacement crisis into the Lango and Teso sub-regions.
In efforts to bolster its operational capacity, the UPDF has created auxiliary militia forces, or Local Defense Units (LDUs), made up of local civilians. Although somewhat effective in deterring the LRA in Lango and Teso sub-regions, the local militias have been plagued by poor training, a lack of accountability and regular human rights violations committed against camp.
The Ugandan government