Operation Lightning Thunder was a Joint army operation between the Uganda Peoples Forces, DRC’s armed forces and Sudanese People’s Liberation Army in December 2008. The operations were also supported by the United States.
Operation Lightning Thunder was conducted in the Garamba area of DRC to flash our Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels who had set bases in the park from where they would attack Uganda and parts of Congo.
Prior to the operations, there had been protracted negotiations for two years between the Government of Uganda and the LRA leadership led by Joseph Kony.
The operations were launched on 14th December 2008 marking the end of negotiations between the government and the LRA rebels.
Operation Lightning Thunder was conducted under the command of UPDF’s Brigadier Patrick Kankiriho (Now Late) who was then commander of the 3rd division of the UPDF.
Operation Lightning Thunder was a combination of UPDF’s special forces and artillery who were in turn supported by aircrafts.
The operations lasted approximately three months with the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) withdrawing from the operation in mid-March 2009.
While the operation neither forced Kony to sign a peace agreement nor kill him, the operation was declared a success because it significantly weakened the LRA’s command structure.
The Operation also led to rescue of some 300 civilians and the killing of about 150 LRA rebel fighters.