Boko Haram, LRA, Kony’s Location Announced
There has been a lot of comparison made in the past few weeks between Invisible Children’s #Kony2012 campaign and the current #BringBackOurGirls campaign in response to the Boko Haram abduction in Nigeria. The situation rang all too familiar to one of Kony’s first abductions, during which he kidnapped 44 secondary school girls who were forced to become sex slaves more than two decades ago. These related incidents place a spotlight on the issue that the world needs new systems to confront these types of mass violence and to peacefully disarm violent groups.
Today, the Secretary General issued a statement to the Security Council about the LRA as a part of the UN LRA strategy (see remarks from Amb. Powers here and the original report here). The Secretary General’s statement included more definitive language about the Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and senior Lord’s Resistance Army commanders having recently returned to seek safe haven in Sudanese-controlled areas of the Kafia Kingi enclave. We’ll likely see more articles later this week when the UN Security Council releases its statement in response to the report, unless Russia and China succeed in scrubbing it of any mention of Kafia Kingi. But if this all seems familiar, don’t worry: You’re not crazy. There was a similar cycle of news headlines in November 2013, following similar information included in the SG’s report on the LRA and the subsequent Council statement. It’s almost a tradition now for the UN to report this information every six months and for Sudan to deny it.
This location is not “breaking news.” Invisible Children has been reporting on it for more than two years (from extensive research that Invisible Children, Resolve and others have done with defector interviews and trips to Northern Central African Republic).
This is a very good development for the mission, as it puts increasing pressure on Sudan to not help or harbor Kony. It also gives the US military and African Union more political cover to charge in there to get Kony if a fix on his location has been made. There is some reason to hope that the LRA won’t be allowed to enjoy safe haven in Kafia Kingi forever. Long-range Osprey aircraft operated by US military pilots may help Ugandan troops reach the area, but only if their periodic deployments are timed with fresh intelligence on the LRA’s whereabouts.
The world has been made aware of where Kony is, and the world has made commitments to bring him to justice. Now is the time to finish strong. I would love to provide Invisible Children’s CEO, Ben Keesey, as well as our advocacy partners at Resolve for any interview opportunities to discuss this situation, as well as what will need to happen once Kony is captured to rehabilitate the communities in which he and his army have been committing atrocities for three decades.
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