The United States has offered rewards of close to four million euros each for information that could lead to the arrest fugitive Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and other high ranking members of his Lord’s Resistance Army.
Kony is accused of terrorising northern Uganda for two decades. He and his rebel group were rejected from the country in 2005 and are currently wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. His guerillas are accused of abducting children to use as sex slaves or fighters and of mutilating victims in acts of intimidation and revenge.
Kony and his aides have been cited under the US State Department’s newly expanded War Crimes Rewards Program. Under the program, rewards of up to $5 million (4 million euros) are offered for information that leads to the arrest, transfer or conviction of fugitives.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, writing a column at the Huffington Post, said: “Kony and his cronies have eluded capture for years. The LRA is broken down into small bands of rebels, scattered throughout dense jungle, hidden by dense canopy, controlling territory through tactics of fear and intimidation. We know they will not be easy to find.”
“But we know that rewards have a proven track record of generating tips that help authorities find fugitives and hold them accountable – just look at the example of criminals and butchers from conflicts in Sierra Leone, the former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda, all brought to justice in part through the use of rewards.”
Kony is believed to be in hiding in the remote jungle that spans the borders of South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
Kony was the subject of an online film, Kony 2012, by the organisation Invisible Children who ran the campaign “Stop Kony”. The campaign video went viral and has now been watched on YouTube by almost 100 million viewers.
Other fugitives named on Wednesday by the State Department include Sylvestre Mudacumura, leader of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), and nine other people wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda: Felicien Kabuga, Protais Mpiranya, Augustin Bizimana, Fulgence Kayishema, Pheneas Munyarugarama, Aloys Ndimbati, Ladislas Ntaganzwa, Charles Ryandikayo and Charles Sikubwabo.