Kony's days of freedom 'are numbered'

2012-04-19 07:39
Washington - Wanted Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony's days as a free man are "numbered," a US lawmaker said on Wednesday, adding that the "noose is tightening" on the leader of the brutal Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

Kony is accused by the International Criminal Court of the rape, mutilation and murder of civilians, as well as forcibly recruiting child soldiers for his years-long campaign of terror in central Africa.

His exact whereabouts are unknown but he is believed to be in the Central African Republic.

Calls for his arrest grew louder last month after the US group Invisible Children posted a video online that drew attention to his alleged crimes, and quickly went viral.

"Joseph Kony is alive," Johnny Isakson, a Republican senator from Georgia, told a Senate subcommittee focused on Africa.

"His days are numbered in terms of being missing," he added, noting that his arrest will be a "good day for Africa".

Speaking to AFP after the hearing, Isakson added: "The noose is tightening... we're making every effort we can to help."

The assistant US secretary of state for African affairs, Johnnie Carson, noted the administration of President Barack Obama was "totally committed" to doing just that to bring Kony and his cronies to justice.

Intelligence assets

In October, Obama authorised the deployment of 100 combat troops to central Africa to help and advise forces battling LRA rebels.

"Although the US forces are combat-equipped, they will only be providing information, advice and assistance to partner nation forces," Obama said at the time, adding the forces would only engage LRA forces for self-defence.

Kony, a semi-literate former altar boy, took charge in 1988 of a rebellion among northern Uganda's ethnic Acholi minority, to fight the Kampala government it wanted to replace with a regime based on the bible's Ten Commandments.

LRA rebels are accused of terrorising, murdering, raping and kidnapping thousands of people in the region, and tens of thousands of people died in their 20-year war with security forces in northern Uganda.

Carson said Washington was working with and advising forces in the Central African Republic and had deployed "intelligence assets in the region".

"We have clearly helped to degrade the LRA to disperse it, but we have not finished the mission," he said.

Read more on:    lra  |  barack obama  |  joseph kony  |  us  |  uganda  |  war crimes  |  east africa
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