Joseph Kony’s Aboke Girls: Child Abduction & Sexual Slavery

Aboke Girls: Children Abducted in Northern Uganda is a true story written by journalist, Els De Temmerman. It is a heart-wrenching account that unfolds the systematic abduction and sexual enslavement of girls from St. Mary’s College in northern Uganda. As shocking reports surfaced of the bold and heinous crimes committed against children under the leadership of the LRA commander, Joseph Kony, the world sat up and took notice. 

Aboke Girls: Children Abducted in Northern Uganda

On October 9, 1996, Kony’s rebel army broke into the Aboke girl’s school in northern Uganda like a thief in the night, kidnapping 139 girls between 12-15 years old.  During his diabolical reign of terror, Joseph Kony turned on his own people. Under his command, young boys were forced to become killers, often of their own parents and family members. Young girls were plucked from their homes, or, in the case of the Aboke girls from St. Mary’s College, an upperscale Catholic girl’s school, they were abducted in the night and forced to become sex slaves for Kony’s men.

Child Sex Slaves & Soldiers

These child sex slaves and killers lived in constant fear of their own lives being taken, and the lives of their families. To survive, they did what they were told.  One ex-child soldier tells of  time he was forced to watch 50 small children being massacred to “teach them a lesson”.  Not with a single bullet, but stabbed, beaten or stoned to death. The brutality was always meant to send a message. Often the private parts were cut off of those already murdered. New child recruits were forced to take part in the killings as part of instilling fear and mindless obedience to Kony’s authority. All, as the book details, on the altar of Joseph Kony.

The girls were given to the adult soldiers for their sexual gratification and servitude. Often made to fetch water from miles away, walking through the night in the treachourous bush for miles to evade capture with nothing more than banana leaves to cover their bloodied feet, surviving regular rapes, beatings to keep them in line, and subsisting on little food or sleep.

Although this story is a part of many parts, it is the story of the Aboke Girls. And although much restoration and healing have taken place and the people of northern Uganda are now peaceful and rebuilding their lives, we remember their sacrifices and courage. For those of us a world away, it may seem like a brief period in time. For those living it, an eternal hell on earth. 

Women Who Lived To Tell Their Stories

Ayako survived a vicious attack of the LRA, but they murdered her husband and two children, burned down her house, and plucked out one of her eyes with a wire. For no reason other than she was moving on the roadside when the LRA approached her, Carcy’s lips and nose were cut off and she was forced to eat them. If she cried, they threatened to slit her throat. Nine other people were brutalized in the same way. This was no conventional war.

Human Rights Violations & the Conflict of War

Aboke Girls takes us through the conflict of war, Kony’s twisted idealogies including the cleansing of the Acholi people after their disloyalty to him, stories of the abductions, two girls who escaped, and the tenacious advocacy and voice of Sister Rachele and her tireless search for her students, along with their parents. In 1998, the UN Commission for Human Rights accepted a resolution demanding immediate release of more than 10,000 abducted children. But to no avail. Then, after years of political posturing, the last Aboke girl returned home in 2000, with 20 still missing. That same year, over 400 children were again reported missing, including a two-year old baby.

Fast forward to 2012: The demonized terror mastermind, Joseph Kony, who once lurked and schemed deep in the bush, has again captured the world’s attention. As documented in the film, Kony2012 by Invisible Children and An Unconventional War, one of the most arrogant and perverse human slave masters, child abductor, murderer, rapist and antagonist is now on the run.  The hunter has become the hunted. 

“He who allows oppression, shares the crime” -Desiderius Erasmus

Els De Temmerman has been an award-winning African correspondent for print and television serving in Uganda, Kenya and South Africa. In addition to Aboke Girls: Children abducted in northern Uganda, she also authored The dead are alive: Rwanda, an eyewitness, Africa: Continent in Motion and The Horn of Agony: Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of  Uganda’s New Vision, and  has recently launched, The New Nation, a bi-monthly newspaper published by Sudan Advocacy for Development, an NGO registered and based in Juba, South Sudan.


(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”



  1. ankita narahari says:

    yes this is wrong and kony should be stopped

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