Kony 2012: Campaign against African warlord goes viral, now who is he?
The Kony 2012 campaign succeeded in making African warlord Joseph Kony infamous, but left out much of the background. Here's Monitor coverage on Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army.
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Specifically, the American troops are tasked with assisting in “the removal from the battlefield” of Joseph Kony and other senior leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, Obama said in a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate. Although the troops will be equipped for combat, officials specified that their principal role would be advisory.Skip to next paragraph
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There are a number of reasons why the US jumped into this fight while staying away from chasing other international outlaws.
Lobbying in Congress for intervention created bipartisan willingness for intervention at a time when members could agree on almost nothing else. The intervention also fit into Obama’s Libya formulation: intervene at a small scale in places where it could tip the balance against further atrocities. And the US military has been interested in getting more involved in Africa, having recently set up a new Africa Command (AFRICOM).
The Monitor has published a number of voices arguing for and against tackling Kony and the LRA through military means. Kellen McClure with Freedom House argued for military intervention:
While it is true that there are a lot of unpleasant people in the world, one would be hard pressed to find any who are more unpleasant than Joseph Kony and can be “dethroned” as easily. Sending military advisers to Central Africa is a small price to pay for ending the career of one of the most horrific mass murderers of the past 20 years.
But even though Kony's fighters number around 200, many of the opponents of sending US forces argue Kony won’t be an easy catch:
Part of the reason Kony has been able to evade capture for so long has to do with the way he positions his fighters around his camps and the systems of notification of impending attack he's able to employ.
That point was echoed by guest blogger Ledio Cakaj:
Even when the US provides satellite images of supposed LRA groups to the Ugandan army on the ground, the information often arrives too late or is difficult to analyze. “All [satellite] images look like the jungle,” a Ugandan army commander told Enough.
History before and after Obama’s decision gives some backing to the skeptics. The international community has tried to corner Kony before, only to see the LRA launch devastating reprisal attacks on civilians in Central Africa. And a half year after Obama’s decision, the LRA is still able to move through the region, raiding villages to steal food and slaves.
The latest attacks have occurred in the last 30 days, with LRA attacks reported in the village of Bagulupa, 35 miles east of Dungu in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The attacks occurred on Feb. 10 and 24, and appear to have been standard raids for food. One person was killed, and 17 villagers abducted, probably for use as porters or sex slaves, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.