Find Joseph Kony, Obama Instructs Troops, As He Sends 150 Special Forces To Uganda
Three years ago, the massively successful viral marketing campaign “KONY 2012” made Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony a household name. Now, President Obama is sending military aircrafts and 150 Special Forces troops to Uganda in an effort to locate Kony, a convicted war criminal who leads the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The deployments, which will augment the 100 troops Obama sent to Uganda to track Kony in 2011, began on Sunday night and will arrive by midweek.
The White House notified Congress of the deployments, which include four CV-22 Osprey aircraft, as they were getting underway earlier this week. The Special Forces troops will be combat-equipped, but aren’t authorized to engage Kony or LRA forces unless in self-defense. Rather, they’re there to “provide information, advice and assistance” to African Union forces who are already working to track Kony.
Kony has been operating in Uganda for over two decades. He and the LRA have been accused of widespread crimes against humanity, including systematic abduction, enslavement, mutilation, murder and sexual assaults of children. The Hague convicted him of war crimes in 2005, but he’s thus far evaded capture. His current forces are estimated to number around 250, and intelligence reports suggest that his second-in-command was killed last year.
Kony came to prominence in the U.S. when Invisible Children, an anti-Kony organization based in the U.S., released “KONY 2012,” a 30-minute short film highlighting Kony’s atrocities that ultimately became the most successful viral video of all time. Invisible Children later became the subject of controversy after its founder, Jason Russell, had an emotional breakdown that culminated in him strutting naked meltdown down a San Diego street corner.
However, Invisible Children is still up and running, according to a recent BuzzFeed profile of Russell. The group attempts to combat Kony in a number of ways, including propaganda campaigns to induce defections in the LRA and a local radio station that warns of impending LRA attacks.