KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — The head of a planned African Union force to hunt warlord Joseph Kony said on Wednesday that he can't start his task because he doesn't have troops, equipment or the necessary funding.
Ugandan Col. Dick Olum spoke to The Associated Press from Yambio, South Sudan, as AU and United Nations officials gathered in Uganda to consider regional efforts to catch Kony and dismantle his infamous Lord's Resistance Army.
"We don't yet have the force to start the mission," said Olum, whose appointment was announced in February. "The problem is logistics, facilitation and personnel."
Olum said the Kony hunt was still in the hands of some 2,000 Ugandan soldiers and 500 South Sudanese troops. The AU force, however, was meant to start operating in March with up to 5,000 troops contributed by Uganda, South Sudan, Congo and the Central African Republic — the countries affected by Kony's rebellion over the past years. The funding for the mission, meant to come from the affected states and the international community, has yet to materialize, he added.
Kony became the first suspect to be indicted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2005. In March, the fugitive warlord became the subject of renewed international attention after U.S. charity Invisible Children released an online video that quickly went viral aimed at raising awareness of crimes attributed to the LRA.
Uganda's Foreign Minister Okello Oryem said Wednesday's meeting of AU and U.N. officials in Uganda had been called amid fears that the LRA might take advantage of chaos in eastern Congo to regroup and wreak havoc. The officials are examining the latest intelligence on the LRA, whose members have traditionally moved freely through the region's porous borders, he said.
"This matter of the LRA could escalate and become bigger in the region," he warned. "The meeting will look into this and come up with intelligence to be shared with the Americans."
Last year President Barack Obama sent 100 troops to Central Africa to help regional governments eliminate the LRA, which is notorious for forcibly recruiting boys and girls who then become soldiers or wives for commanders. The Americans are acting as advisers and are not involved in physically tracking the rebels. Although the hunt for Kony has intensified in recent months, Ugandan officials say they lack reliable evidence of his possible whereabouts because he has stopped using electronic communication devices.
Only about 200 LRA fighters are still left in a vast swath of jungle in Central Africa, according to Ugandan army officials. The rebels are scattered in small groups in South Sudan, Congo, and the Central African Republic, where Kony himself is thought to be hiding. There is no LRA presence in Uganda where it originated in the 1980s as a rebel movement, officials say.
Olum said most of the LRA rebels are hiding in Congo, where military officials arrested a rebel lieutenant and handed him over to Ugandan authorities last month.
The Congolese government has denied Uganda permission to enter its territory in pursuit of LRA rebels.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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