Tag Archives: Kony video

US role in hunt for Kony leads to flurry of press stories from CAR

allAfrica

Nairobi — An unusual dateline – Obo, Central African Republic – appeared in newspapers and on radio broadcasts across the globe Monday morning.

A string of stories were published and aired by reporters who were taken to a base that is one of four used by U.S. Special Forces involved in the search for the Ugandan-born Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which has carried on a terror campaign victimizing civilians across the central African region for more than two decades.

Arranged by the U.S. State Department, the trip was intended to focus media attention on the international effort to apprehend Kony and other LRA leaders, American officials said.

A contingent of 100 U.S. Special Forces is working with thousands of soldiers from four armies in the region – from Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic.

“In Obo, the terrain is so remote that it took the U.S. military four months to carve out its jungle camp,” according to the Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock.

“About half of the U.S. contingent is based at a joint operations center near the international airport in Entebbe, Uganda,” Whitlock wrote. The other base camps — no less remote, according to U.S. officials, are at Djema in the Central African Republic, Dungu in the DRC and Nzara in South Sudan. “The military arranged for journalists to arrive on chartered Cessnas, scattering stray dogs while landing on a makeshift dirt runway,” he said in his Washington Post article.  Read more…

Uganda says Sudan is supporting Kony and LRA

BBC

The Ugandan army says the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony is being supported and supplied by the Sudanese government.

US military advisers involved in hunt for Kony

The LRA is accused of rape, mutilation, murder and the recruitment of child soldiers.

A Ugandan Defence Force colonel told the BBC they captured a member of the LRA who was wearing a Sudanese uniform, and carried its weapons and ammunition.

The US has sent special forces to help in the hunt for Mr Kony.

The 100-strong mission is working in four bases across Central Africa, where the LRA is moving in small groups, raiding and abducting villagers to become fighters, sex slaves or porters.

An online video produced by the US pressure group Invisible Children earlier this year helped raise international awareness of the LRA’s activities.

Last month the African Union set up a 5,000-strong force to track down the fugitive warlord.

Mr Kony and his close aides have been wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court since 2005.  Read more…

The Kony Herfuffle – Uganda moves on

International Herald Tribune

By DAYO OLOPADE
Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, in Sudan in August 2006.
DJIBOUTI — The only person I’ve ever met who was in the Lord’s Resistance Army (L.R.A.) is a Ugandan man named Francis. He was abducted by the group sometime in the late 1990s, when he was a teenager, and forced to march from central Uganda to what is now South Sudan. During a firefight with the Ugandan national army, Francis escaped with his best friend. They had never spoken aloud. The L.R.A. enforced silence on marches.

The older Francis is a soldier again. But he isn’t in Uganda. He’s in Iraq. Like many well-trained local fighters, he’s gone to fill the vacuum left after the United States military fled its war of choice.

I met Francis only once, last summer, in passing, but “Kony 2012” made me remember his story. The viral video by the American nonprofit Invisible Children showcases Joseph Kony, the madman at the helm of the L.R.A. who has been indicted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. The video calls for his arrest this year and for public pressure on the U.S. military to stay in the hunt. Thanks to it, some 50 million viewers, mostly non-Ugandans who understood nothing of Kony, now have the knowledge to despise him as much as a generation of Northern Ugandan families.

Except that hardly anyone in Uganda is talking about him. I spent most of February in Kampala and environs, and there Kony was a whisper on nobody’s lips. Even since the United States sent 100 Special Forces (pdf) to Central Africa in the fall to assist in the chase, both he, and the L.R.A., remain far from a mainstream concern.  Read more…

LRA and Kony – AU supports four army offensive

Sudan Tribune/allAfrica

Juba — On Saturday, four African countries with the backing of the United Nations and the African Union (AU) will officially launch a joint military operation aimed at hunting down the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels and its elusive leader Joseph Kony.

The newly established unit will be comprised of 5,000 soldiers from Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Central Africa Republic (CAR). These are the nations that have been most affected by more than two decades of LRA insurgency.

“The idea is to put in place a strategy, which has been discussed here today… then tomorrow we are going to Juba in the Republic of South Sudan to launch the joint operations tasks force composed [of] Ugandan forces, Central African Republic forces, South Sudan and DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo],” Francisco Madeira, the AU Special Envoy for the LRA issue, said in a statement.

Formed in Uganda in the late 1980s, the notorious LRA rebels have, for over 15 years, mainly targeted civilians and the army. Following regional armies’ offensive the LRA moved to neighboring countries and massively killed, abducted, raped and displaced thousands of the population.

As part of the strategy, Madeira said, the regional task force headquarters will be located in Yambio, the provincial capital of South Sudan’s Western Equatoria state, which borders the DRC. The four African countries, he added, are represented in the Joint Coordination Operations Centre and have reportedly agreed on free movement of troops across borders to pursue the LRA.  Read more…

Uganda/Central Africa: Fighting Kony with beer, spy planes and YouTube

IRIN

Limayi — It is just before noon in the village of Limaye in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Half a dozen empty beer bottles lie scattered at the feet of five Congolese soldiers lounging in easy chairs beneath a mango tree. A freshly opened bottle is propped-up against an automatic assault rifle lying in the dust.

The roughly 4,500 people in Limayi, about 25km north of Dungu in the Haut-Uélé District, are increasingly anxious as they believe the dry season at this time of year prompts Joseph Kony’s Lord Resistance Army (LRA) to head south from the neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan to loot from the relative riches of isolated communities in the country’s northeast.

Villager Faustin Mihinigoyo, 56, told IRIN the soldiers of the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) stationed in Limayi for their protection, “complain to us they only have five bullets and their radios are broken… If the LRA come, they (FARDC) will run away. We are not feeling good.” The soldiers declined to speak to IRIN.

The first attack by the LRA on the village was on 27 August 2008 and the most recent in July 2011. Between these dates there have been many attacks on Limayi -“I can’t even remember the number,” Christophe Eda, the district’s paramount chief, told IRIN, adding that 47 villagers had been killed and 12 abducted, eight of whom had returned.

In the beginning when the attacks came we used to run into the fields, but it was a big mistake as more people were killed. So now we stay in our homes and pray

“In the beginning when the attacks came we used to run into the fields, but it was a big mistake as more people were killed. So now we stay in our homes and pray,” villager Roger Kuyago, 32, told IRIN.

Between 1986 and 2006 the LRA fought a lengthy war with Ugandan security forces. The government established “protected villages” in Uganda’s Acholiland, which at one time formed Kony’s support base, in an attempt to isolate the LRA from the community. Read more…

Uganda: the downside of the Kony video

Pambazuka News

Mahmoud Mamdani

A 30-minute documentary about Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony has been watched by tens of millions online. But will this mobilization of millions be subverted into yet another weapon in the hands of those who want to militarize the region further?

Only two weeks ago, Ugandan papers carried front-page reports from the highly respected Social Science Research Council of New York, accusing the Uganda army of atrocities against civilians in Central African Republic while on a mission to fight Joseph Kony and the LRA.  The Army denied the allegations. Many in the civilian population, especially in the north, were skeptical of the denial. Like all victims, they have long and enduring memories.
The adult population recalls the brutal government-directed counterinsurgency campaign beginning 1986, and evolving into Operation North, the first big operation that people talk about as massively destructive for civilians, and creating the conditions that gave rise to the LRA of Joseph Kony and, before it, the Holy Spirit Movement of Alice Lakwena.
Young adults recall the time from the mid-90s when most rural residents of the three Acholi districts was forcibly interned in camps – the Government claimed it was to ‘protect’ them from the LRA.  But there were allegations of murder, bombing, and burning of entire villages, first to force people into the camps and then to force them to stay put. By 2005, the camp population grew from a few hundred thousand to over 1.8 million in the entire region – which included Teso and Lango – of which over a million were from the three Acholi districts. Comprising practically the entire rural population of the three Acholi districts, they were expected to live on handouts from relief agencies. According to the Government’s own Ministry of Health, the excess mortality rate in these camps was approximately one thousand persons per week – inviting comparisons to the numbers killed by the LRA even in the worst year.
Determined to find a political solution to enduring mass misery, Parliament passed a bill in December 1999 offering amnesty to the entire leadership of the LRA provided they laid down their arms. The President refused to sign the bill.
Opposed to an amnesty, the President invited the ICC, newly formed in 2002, to charge that same LRA leadership with crimes against humanity. Moreno Ocampo grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Joseph Kony became the subject of the ICC’s first indictment.
Critics asked why the ICC was indicting only the leadership of the LRA, and not also of government forces. Ocampo said only one step at a time. In his words: ‘The criteria for selection of the first case was gravity. We analyzed the gravity of all crimes in northern Uganda committed by the LRA and the Ugandan forces. Crimes committed by the LRA were much more numerous and of much higher gravity than alleged crimes committed by the UPDF (Uganda Peoples Defense Force). We therefore started with an investigation of the LRA.’ That ‘first case’ was in 2004. There has been none other in the eight years that have followed.

 Mahmood Mamdani is Professor and Director of Makerere Institute of Social Research in Kampala and Herbert Lehman Professor of Government at Columbia University, New York City

Read more…

Uganda: don’t elevate LRA’s Kony

African Arguments – Alex de Waal

Put yourself in Joseph Kony’s shoes: imagine you are a fugitive leader of a rebel band in the forests of central Africa, travelling on foot and avoiding encounter with any organized military force. You have spurned peace talks and bribes because the only existence you know is surviving off the land and its fearful people. Every high profile offensive by the armies of three neighbouring countries, or international Special Forces, that fails to capture or kill you, adds to your mystique. Your army is run as a cult, using charisma and fear. For a quarter century your reputation has grown, even while your political agenda has dwindled. In fact, since the killing of Osama bin Laden, you are arguably the most wanted man on the planet.

Today, eight years after abandoning northern Uganda, the LRA’s depleted band of a couple of hundred barefoot fighters is somewhere in the borderlands between the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Central African Republic. According to the ‘LRA Crisis Tracker’ they have killed 98 civilians in the last 12 months and abducted 477. That’s an impressively high infamy-to-atrocity ratio, testament to the effectiveness of terrorist advertising. In earlier days, the LRA achieved spread terror throughout northern Uganda by its gruesome mutilations. Severed lips and noses spread the message better than a radio station.

Today, Kony’s supernatural powers are newly validated by his newest enemy, the earthly superpower, which is staking its power and prestige on catching or killing him. The LRA’s new echo chamber is an advocacy group, Invisible ChildrenRead more…

Ugandans unhappy with viral video about Kony

Mail and Guardian

The wildly successful viral video campaign to raise global awareness of a brutal Central Africa rebel leader is attracting criticism from Ugandans, some who said Friday that the 30-minute video misrepresents the complicated history of Africa’s longest-running conflict.
The campaign by the advocacy group Invisible Children to make militia leader Joseph Kony a household name has received enormous attention on YouTube and other Internet sites this week.
But critics in Uganda said the video glosses over a complicated history that made it possible for Kony to rise to the notoriety he has today. They also lamented that the video does not inform viewers that Kony originally was waging war against Uganda’s army, whose human rights record has been condemned as brutal by independent observers.
“There is no historical context. It’s more like a fashion thing,” said Timothy Kalyegira, a well-known social critic in Uganda who once published a newsletter called The Uganda Record.
Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) began its attacks in Uganda in the 1980s, when Kony sought to overthrow the government. Since being pushed out of Uganda several years ago, the LRA has terrorized villages in Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. The group takes young women into sexual slavery and forces children to commit heinous attacks.
In the years when Kony’s men roamed northern Uganda, the Ugandan government was often accused of failing to do enough to capture or kill Kony, with some government investigations showing that army officers profiteered from a protracted war.   Read more…