Hunt for African warlord Kony is put on hold
NAIROBI — The Ugandan military has suspended its hunt for war crimes suspect Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army, delivering a major setback to capturing a notorious warlord accused in the abductions of tens of thousands of children over the past three decades.
The announcement on Wednesday was made days after rebels seized power in the Central African Republic, where Kony is believed to be hiding, and then refused to cooperate with Ugandan troops stationed in the country. As a result, Ugandan army spokesman Felix Kulayigye said the hunt for Kony would be suspended “until further notice.”
For the past several years, Ugandan forces have sought Kony and the LRA, as his militia is called, in the jungles of the Central African Republic, as well as in Uganda, Congo and South Sudan. The Ugandans head an African Union mission of about 3,000 troops, the bulk of whom are from Uganda, in the Central African Republic. In late 2011, the Obama administration dispatched about 100 U.S. Special Forces troops to advise in the effort to capture Kony.
The Obama administration offered up to $5 million in rewards for information leading to the capture of Kony, two of his top aides and a Rwandan rebel leader suspected of crimes against humanity.
Since the 1980s, the LRA, which Kony formed in the 1980s to overthrow Uganda's government, has kidnapped children and transformed them into killers and sex slaves. Several years ago, the militia left Uganda but continued to terrorize villagers in central Africa across a swath the size of Texas, taking advantage of weak governments and porous borders.
But over the past two years, the militia has significantly weakened, numbering no more than a few hundred fighters, according to U.N. officials and analysts. There have been high-profile defections, fragmenting the group, which now seldom abducts children and stages assaults mostly for food and supplies.
But the announcement has raised fears among international human rights groups that Kony and the LRA could regroup and reignite their campaign of brutality if African and American forces halt their pursuit.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.