ISBN: 978-1-108-72535-4

Stina Högbladh

Uppsala University

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This book sets out to understand the inner workings of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) during the Juba peace talks 2006–08. The leader of this notorious but insufficiently understood group, Joseph Kony, had long been in hiding, and knowledge about the group was largely based on rumors or conclusions drawn from its behavior. The Juba process started against the backdrop of warrants issued for the top LRA commanders by the International Criminal Court. At the time, Schomerus visited the group in the field, interviewing members including the two main leaders. Thus, she provides the reader with unique knowledge about LRA. She carefully describes her encounters with the group and explains how she gains new insights but fails to reach a deeper understanding. Schomerus’ book aims to understand how LRA experienced the Juba talks. She portrays how the parties’ and the international community’s images of each other affected the outcome. The book explains LRA through the concepts of ‘connect’ and ‘disconnect’ and the international community though the concept of ‘international galvanic surges’. At times, LRA tried to connect with the outside world by voicing its perspective of the conflict, by trade with the population and by talking to the government. At other times, LRA disconnected by intentionally mystifying the group, attacking the population and withdrawing from the talks. Negotiations failed when the international community failed to use periods of connect, misunderstood the phases of disconnect and was focused on the international support or criticism of the process. The book makes an important contribution, particularly in describing the internal dynamic within an armed group during peace talks.