Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Uganda suspends hunt for warlord Kony after coup



U.S. puts $5 million bounty on Joseph Kony

One day after Uganda suspended its hunt for Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, hampering the search for the notoriously brutal warlord, the U.S. on Wednesday offered up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest or conviction.
The State Department said it would also pay for similar help in catching two of Kony’s senior lieutenants as well as a Rwandan rebel leader. The money is available under the War Crimes Rewards Program.
Kony is thought to be in the Central African Republic, where rebels seized power last month. Uganda said those insurgents have proved hostile to African-led efforts to find and capture the warlord, who surged to international infamy in part thanks to the "Kony 2012" video (part of a campaign that was itself quite a bit controversial). About 100 U.S. special forces have helped in the manhunt.
“We act so that there can be justice for the innocent men, women and children who have been subjected to mass murder, rape, amputation, enslavement and other atrocities,” U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice Stephen Rapp said as he announced the new bounties.
“With this program we also send a message to others who may perpetrate such crimes: ‘There will be the means to bring you to account,’” Rapp added. A department fact sheet noted that “designated individuals themselves are ineligible to receive rewards, as are U.S. and foreign government officials, including military and police, if the information is furnished while in the performance of official duties.”
Also, "Tips regarding any individual designated by the WCRP can be submitted confidentially at the WCRP website:, from the United States via the toll-free telephone number 1-800-877-3927, or overseas by contacting a local U.S. embassy.”

Uganda suspends hunt for warlord Kony after coup


Lord Resistance Army's (LRA) Major General Joseph Kony, in this exclusive image, poses at peace negotiations between the LRA and Ugandan religious and cultural leaders in Ri-Kwangba, southern Sudan, November 30, 2008. REUTERS/Africa24 Media
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Reuters/Reuters - Lord Resistance Army's (LRA) Major General Joseph Kony, in this exclusive image, poses at peace negotiations between the LRA and Ugandan religious and cultural leaders in Ri-Kwangba, southernmore Sudan, November 30, 2008. REUTERS/Africa24 Media less

By Elias Biryabarema
KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda has suspended the hunt for fugitive warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army fighters, blaming hostility towards foreign troops by Central African Republic rebels who seized power last month.
About 100 U.S. special forces helping with intelligence and logistical support also called off operations temporarily, a U.S. embassy official said, but it was not immediately clear if troops from other countries in the regional force were also giving up the search.
Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. He and his commanders are accused of abducting thousands of children to use as fighters in a rebel army that earned a reputation for chopping off limbs as a form of discipline.
Uganda provides more than 3,000 troops of a 5,000-strong African Union force hunting Kony and his fighters, thought to be hiding in jungles straddling the borders of Central African Republic, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.
A separate coalition of rebels in Central African Republic, known as Seleka, toppled President Francois Bozize last month. They swept into the capital Bangui in a lightning offensive which triggered days of looting and drew international condemnation.
The Seleka rebels also killed 13 South African soldiers during their attack on Bangui.
"These rebels have been openly hostile to us and following that, the president (of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni) has ordered us only to be in defensive positions," said Dick Olum, head of Ugandan troops in the force hunting Kony and also the overall force commander.
"So we've temporarily suspended offensive operations against the LRA for now until we receive further orders," he told Reuters on Wednesday.
Crane Elise, U.S. embassy information officer in Kampala, said U.S. special forces had "temporarily paused the operations against LRA to give us time to consult with our partners."
Uganda's Daily Monitor newspaper had quoted her saying the consultations would be with the State Department, but Elise amended those comments, telling Reuters she had been misquoted.
LRA fighters fought the Ugandan government for nearly two decades before being ejected from their strongholds in the north of the country in 2005, forcing them to establish bases in the jungles of other countries in the region.
Children's rights groups urged the Ugandan and U.S. governments to keep their pledges to hunt down Kony.
"In spite of what is happening in CAR, we are reminding decision makers - both in Uganda and the US - to uphold commitments they have previously made towards bringing to an end the LRA conflict," said Michael Mubaginzi, the regional public relations and advocacy officer for Invisible Children Uganda.

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