US Moves To Put Bounty On Kony’s Head
The United States could put a huge reward for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest or killing of war criminal and leader of terror group LRA, Joseph Kony.
This was revealed in a statement by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Donald Yamamoto, to the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs on Tuesday.
Titled “Countering the Lord’s Resistance Army,” Yamamoto’s testimony also looks at ways of ending the LRA banditry through a systematic seizure of Kony and his top rebel commanders.
“We believe there is an opportunity for further U.S. support to the counter-LRA effort using the State Department’s War Crimes Rewards Program. This program allows the Secretary of State to publicize and pay rewards for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of targeted war criminals,” said Yamamoto.
“This program has been very effective in bringing fugitives to justice, but the present statutory authority is limited to fugitives indicted by the International
Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and the Special Court for Sierra Leone,” he added.
“Under an expanded authority, we could publicize rewards for information about LRA leaders using leaflets, radio broadcasts, and other communications mechanisms,” clarified Yamamoto.
“We believe, and our colleagues at the Defense Department agree, that this would provide an important tool to generate information about the whereabouts of top LRA leaders, especially to encourage non-indicted LRA fighters to defect and provide such information,” added Yamamoto.
The announcement comes at a time when UPDF is accusing Sudan leader Gen. Omar Al Bashir of propping up the weakened LRA rebels with logistics.
Yamamoto further stated that over the last several years, the governments of the region have made progress dispersing the LRA and reducing its numbers.
However, despite this progress, the LRA continues to abduct, terrorize, and uproot communities across three countries – the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and South Sudan.
“The LRA is a weakened force, but its humanitarian impact remains disproportionate. The UN Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs estimated that more than 465,000 people were displaced or living as refugees during 2011 as a result of the LRA threat,” he said.
“The United States has worked for many years to help address the suffering caused by the LRA. Consistent with the legislation passed in 2010, we continue to pursue a multi-faceted strategy to help the governments and people of this region in their efforts to end the threat posed by the LRA and address the human consequences of the LRA’s atrocities,” he said.
Yamamoto stressed the governments of Uganda, CAR, DRC, and South Sudan were in the lead and their troops making the most important sacrifices.
“Continued leadership and cooperation by these governments is essential to keep the pressure on the LRA. As we have seen in the past, the LRA can exploit any reduction in military or diplomatic pressure to regroup and rebuild its forces.”
Yamamoto also noted that over recent years, the State Department has provided support to enable counter LRA operations by its regional partners.
“Since 2008, we have obligated approximately $50 million in logistical support to help the Ugandan military sustain its operations and increase its mobility. We continue to provide this support,” revealed Yamamoto.
He also said in the DRC, the State Department funded training and equipment for a light
infantry battalion of the Congolese army that is now operating in LRA-affected areas of the DRC.
“This battalion is engaged in targeted military operations against the LRA in coordination with the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO),” said Yamamoto.
“The State Department continues to fund two mentors who are working with this battalion. We are also engaging with the militaries of CAR and South Sudan as they increase their efforts to counter the LRA and protect their populations.”
President Barrack Obama on Monday announced that the United States will continue the deployment.
UPDF Spokesperson Col. Felix Kulayigye says Kony and his henchmen are not only scattered but on the run in Central African Republic and would soon be killed.
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Updated on 2013-05-09 09:25
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