Skip to main content

African Union beefs up forces to hunt Joseph Kony

From the CNN Wire Staff
updated 1:29 PM EDT, Sat March 24, 2012
An image of notorious warlord and LRA founder Joseph Kony who has terrorized Africans for 26 years.
An image of notorious warlord and LRA founder Joseph Kony who has terrorized Africans for 26 years.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Four nations are contributing troops to track down Joseph Kony
  • The United States is supporting the mission
  • A video that went viral raised Kony's profile
  • The notorious warlord is wanted for war crimes

(CNN) -- The African Union plans to deploy 5,000 troops to hunt down Joseph Kony, the notorious leader of the Lord's Resistance Army who is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

Uganda, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo will supply soldiers for the mission, said Francisco Madeira, the African Union's special envoy on the LRA.

He said the mission has support from the United States and 100 combat-ready troops the Pentagon sent to the region in October will assist.

Kony and the LRA have been terrorizing Uganda and now, neighboring nations, for more than two decades. He is accused of using vicious tactics to recruit children to use them as soldiers and sex slaves and of slicing off ears, noses and limbs of his victims.

Villagers in Uganda watch 'Kony 2012'
Acaye from 'Kony 2012' shares journey
LRA victim opposes 'Kony 2012'

There are reports of child soldiers brainwashed into killing their own parents.

A celebrity-backed video that went viral helped make Kony's alleged crimes more widely known. Invisible Children produced the "KONY 2012" half-hour documentary, viewed more than 84 million times on YouTube.

But in introducing Kony to many for the first time, the video also spurred a flurry of questions about Invisible Children's intentions, its transparency and whether the social-media frenzy was too little, too late.

Kony formed the LRA in an attempt to overthrow the government of Uganda. When that failed and the LRA was pushed out of Uganda in 2006, Kony began moving around in neighboring countries.

Abou Moussa, a special U.N. envoy for central Africa, said there is enough information to believe Kony may be in Central African Republic. It's also believed the LRA soldiers range between 200 and 700 in number.

"I don't think that's the most important thing," Moussa said. "The most important thing is how little they may be, they still constitute a danger to the environment. So they continue to attack, they continue to create havoc."

CNN's Joseph Netto, Moni Basu and Faith Karimi contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:28 PM EDT, Mon March 12, 2012
The documentary about the atrocities of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony prompts a heated debate about the filmmakers and their advocacy.
updated 12:51 PM EDT, Mon March 12, 2012
Invisible Children filmmaker Jason Russell and CEO Ben Keesey address attacks on their hit viral doc about an African warlord.
updated 4:31 PM EDT, Mon March 12, 2012
Campaigner and analyst say there is an opportunity for the Obama administration to make push to end Kony's 25-year terror.
updated 9:45 AM EDT, Tue March 13, 2012
A former child soldier for the LRA explains why he doesn't support "Kony 2012" calls to remove Joseph Kony by military force.
updated 12:04 PM EST, Fri March 9, 2012
If Joseph Kony wasn't the most wanted man in the world, he may be now.
updated 10:49 AM EDT, Mon October 31, 2011
The U.S. has committed a small number of troops to track down the Lord's Resistance Army -- but how has it evaded justice for so long?
updated 6:51 AM EDT, Wed March 14, 2012
World Bank social media strategist TMS "Teddy" Ruge says the film tells the same story about Africa and fails to empower locals.
updated 8:57 AM EST, Fri March 9, 2012
CNN's Christiane Amanpour says the viral Kony film sensitizes people to terrible atrocities across the world.
updated 10:25 PM EST, Thu March 8, 2012
Fillmaker and co-founder of the group "Invisible Children" Jason Russell ask warlord Joseph Kony to surrender.
updated 7:23 AM EDT, Tue March 13, 2012
Criticism aside, viral video 'KONY 2012' is the fastest growing social media campaign of all-time.
updated 9:39 PM EST, Sat March 10, 2012
Evelyn Apoko, a victim of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, says "KONY 2012" should be making the children famous, not Kony.
updated 10:18 PM EST, Thu March 8, 2012
Miquel Marquez reports on a Ugandan warlord responsible for horrific atrocities and the charity bent on stopping him.
updated 6:50 AM EST, Sat March 10, 2012
Dr. Drew discusses singer Rihanna's topless photo, that she tweeted to raise awareness about African Warlord Joseph Kony.
updated 7:00 PM EDT, Sun October 23, 2011
The Lord's Resistance Army abducted Evelyn Apoko when she was only 12. She was abused and suffered horrific injuries from a bomb blast.
ADVERTISEMENT