Uganda Ends Its Hunt for Joseph Kony Empty-Handed

In 2005, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Kony for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Yet Mr. Kony continues to avoid capture. His troops are spread throughout 115,000 square miles of lawless territory in the border region of the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In March, accompanied by about 30 soldiers and 40 women and children, Mr. Kony traveled through Chinko nature reserve in the Central African Republic, according to aid workers in the country. The group formed a circle of smaller units, placing Mr. Kony in the center for his protection. Ugandan soldiers attacked, but the warlord and his forces escaped.

The Ugandan soldiers did recover Mr. Kony’s bathtub, which his troops have carried around for him in the bush for years.

Over the past few years, it has been rare to know Mr. Kony’s location so precisely. Most analysts say he has a haven in the disputed, mineral rich area of Kafia Kingi in the Sudanese state of South Darfur.

Sudan’s military has not participated in combating the Lord’s Resistance Army, and nonprofit organizations have reported that Sudan’s military has harbored and supported the militia since 1994.

But in January, President Barack Obama temporarily lifted select sanctions against Sudan after seeing “significant progress” by Sudan in “addressing the threat of the Lord’s Resistance Army.” The Trump administration has the option to permanently revoke the sanctions in July.

Photo

Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, in a photograph from 2006.

Credit
Associated Press

And for the first time, Sudan’s army chief of staff participated in an African Union ministerial coordination meeting, in Addis Ababa on March 30, to discuss the fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army.

“It’s a big mistake for the Trump administration to pull out of this mission right at a time when the government of Sudan is on the hook for providing actionable intelligence to find Joseph Kony, finally,” said Sasha Lezhnev, who monitors the Lord’s Resistance Army’s activities for the nonprofit Enough Project.

While acknowledging the militant group’s continued threat to the region, the meeting participants resolved to “ensure there is no security vacuum” and said the fight must continue “until it is eliminated.”

With the Ugandan forces heading home, the African Union envisions United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan taking on that task.

But according to an internal United Nations memo obtained by The New York Times, the Ugandan forces’ withdrawal represents “a significant setback” for efforts against the Lord’s Resistance Army in the Central African Republic…

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