Hunting One of the World’s Greatest Villains
Joseph Kony is an African Warlord, and worse. He is known for abducting children from schools and villages, enslaving them for sexual and military roles. He has kidnapped an estimated 20,000 children. Their first act is often to murder their own parents so they will have no home to return to.
In 1987, he established the “Lord’s Resistance Army”, designed to overturn the Ugandan government and reform it as a Christian country.
Born in 1963 to a farming family, he followed the lead of his father who had become a Catholic, and his mother who was Anglican. He became an altar boy, but for unknown reasons left the Church at the age of 15.
He became known in 1986 as a leader of one of the resistance movements fighting the Ugandan government’s National Resistance Army. From the rebels, he recruited his first members. His movement was originally called the “United Holy Salvation Army” ,UHSA, and was not originally believed to be a threat by the NRA. In 1988, Kony’s army had become a force. An agreement between the NRA and the Uganda People’s Democratic Army displeased members of the UPDA, and many joined the UHSA. One of them was the leader of the UPDA, Odong Latek, who convinced him to use more traditional military tactics. The had several small victories against the NRA.
The NRA responded by significantly weakening Kony’s group through a military campaign named Operation North. The operation was devastating to the UHSA and, and their numbers were reduced from thousands to hundreds. Kony retaliated with guerilla warfare type attacks which proved only mildly successful.
Most of his army, renamed the LRA, were now children. When Kony’s army was large, an estimated 104,000 children made up the bulk of the LRA.
On October 6, 2005, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that arrest warrants had been issued for five members of the Lord’s Resistance Army for crimes against humanity.
Kony used the kidnapped children as ‘pack mules’. When they became too weak to walk, he had them killed. Kidnapped girls were given to his army’s leaders as ‘wives’. Kony, himself, is believed to have 60. “Troublesome” children have their noses, lips or ears cut off, and they are forced to eat their own flesh.
Although originally a Catholic, he tells his followers that “the angels speak directly to him” now.
Last evening on CBS’ “60 Minutes” Lara Logan reported that U.S. Special Operations Colonel Kurt Crytzer has been assigned to assist in the capture of Kony. Colonel Crytzer believes that his numbers are dwindling, but because he has lived in the jungle for 25 years, or more, that he is very difficult to pin down. They are building relationships with villagers who may have had Kony pass through their area.
“If you think about our experiences with Osama bin Laden, we had some of the best platforms in the world flying in all the wrong places for eight years,” he tells Logan. “In the end, it was human intelligence that led to him. In the end, it’s going to be human intelligence here that leads to Joseph Kony,” says Crytzer.
Maj. Gen. Caesar Acellam is the highest-ranking LRA member to be captured. In his first major interview, he says he was with Kony for 20 years and acknowledged participating in the horror perpetrated by the group. “There were a number of things that you might not have wanted to do. But you do it,” Acellam says. “All these people were doing atrocities…under Kony’s instruction.”
A former child soldier tells Logan why he followed Kony. “We were told this was God’s war, so out of fear of God, I believed everything I was told, and I followed.”
Columnist-The Guardian Express