Advertisement

The Obama administration is intensifying its efforts to
track down Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony whom the US president
described last week as a “madman.”

As a sign of deepening commitment, Pentagon and State
Department officials expressed support for a proposal in the US Congress to
expand a cash rewards programme to include hunted fugitives such as Kony.

At the same time, Mr Obama promised in a speech commemorating
the World War II holocaust that US military advisors will continue assisting
African forces in pursuit of the LRA.


The president said that “efforts to bring this madman to
justice and to save lives” are part of a US strategy to “end the scourge that
is the LRA and help realise a future where no African child is stolen from
their family, no girl is raped, and no boy is turned into a child soldier.”

About 100 American military advisors — mainly members of US
Army Special Forces teams — were dispatched earlier this year to Uganda, South
Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central Africa Republic.

They are providing intelligence and field support for army
units from those countries that are searching for Kony and his estimated 250
followers.

A US deputy defence secretary told Congress last week that
the advisors are providing $35 million worth of logistical support, supplies
and services to the Kony hunters operating in the four African countries.
The legislation to expand the State Department’s War Crimes
Reward Programme would enable Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to determine
the amount of money to be given for information leading to Kony’s capture or
killing.

An Associated Press story last week raised the possibility
that Kony may have died somewhere in the bush. An AP reporter accompanying
Ugandan units hunting for Kony in the Central African Republic cited scepticism
and boredom on the part of rank-and-file soldiers.

Kony has not been heard from since 2008. Ugandan officers
insist, however, that he is still alive. “Col. Joseph Balikuddembe, the top
Ugandan commander of the anti-Kony mission, said the war on the LRA cannot be
rushed,” according to the AP account.

“To eliminate the rebels and their top leaders, he said,
Ugandan troops must live like the rebels, on scant provisions, to catch them in
the jungles.”

These conditions are said to entail life-threatening dangers
such as attacks by elephants and crocodiles.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here