Monday, April 08, 2013

Kony2012. Four months after failure to find him

How fast we forget. Despite a massive KONY2012 YouTube campaign, the rebel leader Joseph Kony of the Lords Resistance Army is still at large.

A US organisation called Invisible Children ran a controversial campaign at the start of last year, which involved a documentary on YouTube which claims over 97 million views (unverified) and 3.7 million pledges of support.

The critics of the campaign gave up at the end of last year. But then came news from Kampala.
Felix Kulayigye
Last Wednesday, a Ugandan army spokesman Felix Kulayigye said their forces has temporarily suspended the hunt "until further notice". This was followed two days later by a denial that this was the case by the UN Special representative to the Central African Republic, Abou Moussa.

"We must not give any chance to Joseph Kony and his fighters to believe that there is a reprieve and that they can continue to commit atrocities with impunity," Moussa said.

"There is no reason to consider any suspension of the participation of the UPDF (Ugandan military)," was the message at a press conference following a meeting in Kampala on Wednesday between officials from the African Union, UN and Uganda.

The change of regime in Bangui has had "no impact" on the determination of Ugandan authorities to hunt down the LRA and its leader Joseph Kony, the UN said, citing remarks by African Union point man on the LRA, Francisco Madeira.

US Ambassador to Uganda Scott DeLisi on Thursday who confirmed that US military advisors remained deployed throughout the region to help in the hunt for Kony.

Col. Joseph Balikuddembe (L), commander of UPDF troops hunting Kony in CAR, and US Navy SEALS commander Capt. Gregory speak to journalists at the Counter LRA Operations Fusion Centre in Obo on April 30th 2012. PHOTO BY TABU BUTAGIRA 
The UN statement followed remarks by a Ugandan army spokesman on Wednesday who said operations against the LRA in Central Africa had been halted after Seleka rebels took control last month.

LRA rebel leader Kony is believed by some to be hiding out in a remote area close to where the borders of CAR, Sudan and South Sudan meet.

Although Kony has not been found, Invisible Children is claiming success with its 6 FM Radio projects across central Africa that broadcast messages from family members and former LRA combatants to encourage current LRA soldiers to peacefully surrender. 

The Invisible Children project "LRA Crisis Tracker reported that, on March 21, 2013, four LRA soldiers escorted 28 captives to Digba, DR Congo, in order to release them. The group consisted of 28 women and children. After reaching Digba, the group traveled to Ango. One woman reportedly drowned on the journey (the LRA Crisis Tracker has not received any additional information about how the accident occurred). The remaining 27 arrived safely in Ango and "confirmed listening to the Come Home programs" that our newest supported project, UBC Radio, broadcasts from Kampala and reaches deep into central Africa.

So what's really going on?

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