By Adam Bukenya Updated on Sunday 13th February 2022 1948 EAT.
What you need to know:
- Kony, a self-proclaimed ‘messiah’ sent by God -to counter the 1986 President Museveni establishment- in the late 1980s founded a United Nations (UN) designated terror group, LRA but has successfully eluded justice for nearly three decades.
The United States (US) Department of State has announced a cash reward for any “individuals who provide information that leads to the arrest, transfer or conviction” of Ugandan fugitive Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel leader Joseph Kony.
You can help bring him to justice and get paid up to $5 million (about Shs17 billion),” the US said in a February 12 social media post through its War Crimes Rewards Program.
Kony, a self-proclaimed ‘messiah’ sent by God -to counter the 1986 President Museveni establishment- in the late 1980s founded a United Nations (UN) designated terror group, LRA but has successfully eluded justice for nearly three decades.
“Joseph Kony has been wanted for more than 15 years,” the US observed as it assured on “100 percent confidentiality” about the source of leads to the warlord’s capture.
For 20 years, the LRA rebel group under Kony’s command carried out several brutal-insurgent attacks in Northern Uganda that claimed over 100, 000 lives and displaced tens of thousands of people into different parts of the East African bloc. The International Criminal Court (ICC) records indicate that Kony’s militants also exploited thousands of forcefully recruited child soldiers.
Previous efforts to pursue the man believed to be in his early 60s have not yielded fruit with the former Catholic alter-boy, Kony, now rumored to be in a remote Sudanese location.
“The reward is impressive although but I have little hope that he will be captured. I am only expectant that someday justice will be delivered,” says 26-year old Ronald Odong who reportedly lost several relatives during the LRA war in the present-day Gulu City.
The very last mission to have Kony arrested or killed was declared ended by both Washington and Kampala- with no major gains even after the US spent at least $800 million in joint operations with the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in 2017, according to the Pentagon.
With several of his aides dead, some captured, jailed and many others granted amnesty, Kony’s arrest would have him face up to 12 counts of crimes against humanity and at least 21 counts of war crimes following his 2005 ICC indictment.
As of February 2022, the LRA security threat to regional stability has significantly waned from around 2005 after his rebel outfit was forced out of Uganda following multiple offensives by the UPDF.