SIGN WARFARE (extract)
by Jonathan Littell

The MI-8 buzzes above the trees, a fat bloated insect, its belly swollen, white as a mythical whale that would have suddenly taken to the skies. Its shadow flits lightly over the green treetops. A few ports are open and a strong wind blows through the hull; the cockpit door, badly latched, flaps open, revealing the thick reddened necks of the Ukrainian pilots.The helicopter is rented, with American funding, by the Ugandan military called the UPDF, Uganda People’s Defense Force. Two officers sit on a bench, AKs between their knees, unloaded and barrel down. A lieutenant of the air wing, his ear glued in spite of the racket to a handset, guides the flight. In front of him are piled cases of corned beef, millet flour and bottles of mineral water. Through the round window set in the door one can look down on the forest, a vast ocean of ever-changing green hues, streaked through with pale winding lines of treeless land. In the distance, a gray mass weighs down on the trees, a broad tube of misty rain connecting cloud and vegetation.The helicopter is somewhere between South Sudan and D.R. Congo, nothing marks the border, there is no sign of life, not a fire, not a plot, not a hut. This is where the enemy hides, and one only has to look to understand how impossible these endless combing missions are. What the Ugandans call OLT, Operation Lightning Thunder, covers an area as large as all of Germany, entirely wooded, hardly inhabited, nearly roadless.The enemy in question is the Lord’s Resistance Army, Ugandan rebels pushed over the border years ago, but who still continue to kill, loot and kidnap young slaves throughout three neighboring countries. There must be a few hundred left. Go find them down there.”



This Documentary directed by the writer and journalist, Jonathan Littell, focuses on the massacres comitted by the LRA teenagers in Uganda. At teh origin of the project a reportage with the photographer Bénédicte Kurzen.

“Wrong Elements” opens with immense, thick, dark vegetation. The same as the one in which journalist and writer Jonathan Littell was thrown by helicopter one morning in May 2011.

At his side that day, the photographer of  Noor agency, specialist in Africa, Bénédicte Kurzen. The young woman was recommended by a friend who had seen her at work in Tahrir Square, in the whirlwind of the Egyptian revolution. The helicopter barely rises in the sky when they are walking in single file, embarked for a week with 45 Ugandan army men.

Jonathan and Bénédicte, with her Rolleiflex, are "embedded" within a squadron that tracks down the last rebels of the LRA, the Lord's Resistance Army. Formed in the late 1980s in northern Uganda by a young insurgent, Joseph Kony, the Lord's Resistance Army developed a terrible machine of destruction in the heart of Africa, kidnapping thousands of teenagers to turn them into mass killers.