Skip to main content

U.N. chief warns African troops hunting for Kony short on food, equipment

By Chelsea J. Carter, CNN
updated 6:23 AM EDT, Fri June 15, 2012
Militant leader Joseph Kony, shown in a 2006 photo, is wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Militant leader Joseph Kony, shown in a 2006 photo, is wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • Ban Ki-Moon warns the African Union forces are short on resources
  • Joseph Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court
  • He is accused of crimes against humanity for the alleged use of child soldiers
  • He stands accused of conscripting children as soldiers and sex slaves

(CNN) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is questioning the effectiveness of the manhunt for fugitive warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army, saying African Union troops are short on equipment, food and transportation.

In a 14-page report to the U.N. Security Council, Ban urged member nations to provide the needed resources, warning the troops would be able to carry out their mission.

"The initiative itself lacks adequate and predictable funding for its operations. Without the necessary resources, the African Union will be unable to execute this important task fully," Ban said in the report released Thursday.

The African Union stepped up efforts this year to capture Kony, deploying 5,000 troops in March after a resurgence in attacks by the group left thousands dead and displaced 445,000 people in Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, according to U.N. estimates.

Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court at the Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity, stemming in part from allegations of his vicious tactics to conscript children as soldiers and sex slaves in his army.

Rwanda's president talks Joseph Kony
The hunt for Joseph Kony
The 'Kony 2012' phenomenon
Why do certain videos go viral?

President Barack Obama ordered 100 troops to central Africa last year to help in the hunt for Kony. The troops are advising regional forces.

The four countries targeted by Kony's army have contributed troops to the manhunt, though Ban warned they are woefully short on resources.

"The political will notwithstanding, the national authorities highlighted implementation challenges, including the need for additional resources, equipment, training, transportation and food rations to enable troops to mount effective operations against LRA," Ban said, according to the report.

Ban said the troops face additional challenges, including the need for the armies and governments of the affected countries to work jointly, both on a political and military level.

The U.N. Security Council is awaiting a proposal -- by members of the United Nations, the African Union and other countries -- that spells out a strategy to combat Kony.

The proposal, according to Ban's report, is expected to address how to better protect civilians from the attacks as well as disarm, repatriate and resettle those displaced by Kony and his army.

Kony led a failed uprising against the government of Uganda and was pushed out of the nation six years ago. He has been moving around other countries in the region ever since.

Stories of Kony's alleged atrocities date to the 1980s in northern Uganda and include accusations of slicing off ears, noses and limbs of his victims. There are reports of child soldiers brainwashed into killing their own parents.

The U.S. has listed the LRA as a terrorist group and in October, Washington authorized the Special Operations trainers and military advisers to assist African forces searching for Kony and other leaders of the LRA.

The activities of the group are tracked on a website that uses information from the Invisible Children's Early Warning Radio Network, U.N. agencies and local nongovernmental organizations to map and document recent crimes.

A celebrity-backed video that went viral this year helped make Kony's alleged crimes more widely known. The half-hour documentary "KONY 2012" was viewed more than 89 million times on YouTube, but the video also spurred a flurry of questions about its producers' intentions, their transparency and whether the social-media frenzy was too little, too late.

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.