Schomerus, Mareike.

The Lord's Resistance Army: Violence and Peacemaking in Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021.

The link to the publisher's site is here.

The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is one of Africa's most notorious armed rebel groups, having operated across Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. When they entered the Juba Peace Talks with the Ugandan Government in 2006, the peace deal seemed like a gift to fighters who had for years barely been surviving in Central Africa's jungles. Yet the talks failed. Why? Based on exclusive interviews with LRA fighters and their notorious leader Joseph Kony, Mareike Schomerus provides insights into how the LRA experienced the Juba Talks, revealing developing dynamics and deep distrust within a conflict system and how these became entrenched through the peace negotiations. In so doing, Schomerus offers an explanation as to why current approaches to ending armed violence not only fail but how they actively contribute to their own failure, and calls for a new approach to contemporary peacemaking.


‘Schomerus has written the definitive account of the Juba Peace Talks. Based on unrivalled access to the LRA, she shows that the political and interpersonal dynamics around the Talks were as important as the formal negotiations in determining whether peace could be achieved. This is a must-read analysis of a watershed peace process in the era of the ICC.’

Phil Clark - School of Oriental and African Studies

‘A unique combination of first-person account of interviews and events with theoretical arguments that help to explain her experiences in the bush with the Lord's Resistance Army … It provides behind-the-scenes accounts of who, when, where, why, and how the negotiations took place, and why they ended as they did. This is ground-breaking material that has never before been widely available. Schomerus puts the nitty-gritty of negotiations and the complexity of the peace process under the microscope. A riveting account.’

Joanna R. Quinn - Western University

‘An important and timely book. The subjects of the Lord's Resistance Army and Joseph Kony can be easily sensationalised. Schomerus instead takes a patient approach to unpack the violent systems that sustained the LRA, and provides a detailed account of the various attempts to make peace. The result is a very valuable addition to our stock of knowledge. The book has many wider lessons for long peace processes that occur against a backdrop of violent uncertainty. Highly recommended.’

Roger Mac Ginty - Durham University

‘The book’s rich and nuanced theoretical insights and the empirical ground that it covers makes it an invaluable reference for conflict studies and peace building in Africa and elsewhere. Its methodology and its close observation of processes and participants results in a uniquely appealing and elegant narrative.’ Moses Khisa, Journal of Interdisciplinary History