Mil­i­tary ends man­hunt for ruth­less war­lord Kony

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD - BY ROD­NEY MUHUMUZA

KAMPALA, UGANDA | Uganda’s mil­i­tary an­nounced on Wed­nes­day that it is end­ing its pur­suit of in­ter­na­tion­ally known war­lord Joseph Kony, say­ing its mis­sion “has now been suc­cess­fully achieved” even though the rebel leader re­mains at large. The de­ci­sion means the man­hunt for one of the world’s most no­to­ri­ous fugi­tives is ef­fec­tively over.

Uganda has started pulling its forces from Cen­tral African Repub­lic, which for years had been the base for troops chas­ing the rebels, mil­i­tary spokesman Brig. Richard Karemire said.

The news was an­nounced shortly af­ter the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­ci­sion last month to pull out of the man­hunt for Kony, who is wanted by the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court, say­ing the ac­tive mem­ber­ship of his Lord’s Re­sis­tance Army is now fewer than 100. The U.S. de­par­ture left only Uganda in the man­hunt.

At the peak of its pow­ers, the rebel group was known world­wide for its cru­elty against civil­ians in Uganda, Congo, Cen­tral African Repub­lic and what is now South Su­dan. In 2012, the U.S.-based ad­vo­cacy group In­vis­i­ble Chil­dren made a video that quickly be­came vi­ral high­light­ing the LRA’s al­leged crimes, in­clud­ing the ab­duc­tion of chil­dren for use as sex slaves or fight­ers.

Kony, a for­mer Catholic al­tar boy whose rebel move­ment as­pired to rule Uganda ac­cord­ing to the bi­b­li­cal Ten Com­mand­ments, is wanted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against hu­man­ity. One of his for­mer com­man­ders, Dominic Ong­wen, is on trial at The Hague-based court.

Al­though the mil­i­tary mis­sion’s ul­ti­mate goal was to cap­ture or kill Kony, there has been no word on his ex­act where­abouts for years, even as many of his top com­man­ders de­fected or were killed.

About 1,500 Ugan­dan troops had been de­ployed in Cen­tral African Repub­lic un­der an African Union mil­i­tary mis­sion to de­feat the LRA. All of the Ugan­dan troops will re­turn home by the end of May, with the first ar­riv­ing home on Wed­nes­day, mil­i­tary spokesman Brig. Karemire said.

Uganda’s mis­sion to neu­tral­ize the LRA “has now been suc­cess­fully achieved,” he said.

Amid con­cerns about the mil­i­tary pull­outs, the African Union last month sug­gested that U.N. peace­keep­ing mis­sions in the re­gion be used to con­tinue anti-LRA ef­forts.

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