AFRICANGLOBE – A new report says it has fresh evidence that Joseph Kony, the fugitive war crimes suspect wanted by the International Criminal Court, has sought haven in an enclave controlled by Sudan.
Kony, commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army and originally from Uganda, has been accused of crimes for decades and has evaded an arrest warrant issued by the ICC in October 2005.
He has been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, accused of leading a campaign of rape, mutilation and murder and kidnapping boys to serve as child soldiers and girls as sex slaves.
US-based campaign groups The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative and Invisible Children say their report, released this week, provides the most comprehensive public record of Kony’s movements since 2005.
The groups want international policymakers to step up efforts to capture Kony and US Congress to fund surveillance activities that would locate Kony and enable his capture.
LRA defectors, corroborated by satellite imagery and civilian testimony, provide “strong evidence” that Kony has frequently camped in Kafia Kingi on the border of Sudan and South Sudan and in neighbouring areas of Central African Republic since 2010, the report said.
Sudanese troops based in Kafia Kingi, which is controlled by Sudan but claimed by South Sudan, have reportedly provided LRA groups with limited amounts of supplies and munitions and allowed the rebels to access local markets, it added.
“There can be no doubt anymore that Kony frequently uses Kafia Kingi as a safe haven,” said Paul Ronan, director of The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative.
“It’s time for the international community and the Sudanese government to stop looking the other way.”
“Denying Kony safe haven in Kafia Kingi and bringing him to justice are just the first step in (the) long road to recovery for LRA-affected communities,” said Ronan.
In March, Washington sent extra commandos and tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft to Uganda to help African Union forces hunt for Kony.
But the prospects of extricating Kony from Kafia Kingi are remote.
Relations between Sudan and the United States are tense. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has ruled the country for 25 years, is wanted by the ICC for war crimes in Darfur.