NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The United States is looking for ways to ensure the hunt for wanted warlord Joseph Kony continues in Central African Republic despite a change in leadership in the country that has forced the search to be suspended, a State Department official said Thursday.
The U.S. announced a new $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a small but brutal band of warriors who abduct children and adults as fighters and sexual slaves.
There are 100 U.S. special forces helping advise African forces across Central African Republic, South Sudan, Congo and Uganda. But rebels in CAR deposed the president and took the capital, Bangui, more than a week ago, and African and U.S. efforts to hunt Kony there have since been put on pause.
Stephen J. Rapp, an ambassador-at-large for the State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice, sounded optimistic that an agreement could be reached to allow the hunt to continue. Rapp said the rebels in the new government also don’t want to see Kony in their country and are looking to eliminate the threat Kony brings “within the next six months.”
“So I think we’re going to have the potential for support for operations there,” he said in a telephone conference with reporters. “Operations there have been paused. People there haven’t been withdrawn. Work will go on to make sure that operations can go on. It’s in the interest of the CAR and in the interest of all the people in the region.”
Because the rebels in Central African Republic took power by force, kicking the president out of the capital, the U.S. has restrictions on the cooperation and activities it can carry out with the new leadership. The African Union has voted not to recognize the rebels as the leaders of the country.
Rapp suggested that maybe Ugandan and U.S. forces in CAR will be able to work with local police, “but we’ll see. It’s all the more important that negotiations … succeed. On this issue I think there’s broad common ground. Everyone wants to see the end of the threat of Joseph Kony.”
Along with the reward for Kony, the Obama administration announced up to $5 million in rewards for two of Kony’s top aides and for a Rwandan rebel leader suspected of crimes against humanity.
The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Kony in 2005 for his brutal campaign that originated in Uganda in the 1980s. He became better known in the U.S. after the release in March 2012 of a video called “Kony 2012” by the charity Invisible Children. The video became an internet sensation, being viewed by more than 100 million people.
The rewards are being offered by the State Department under a provision in the War Crimes Rewards Program authored by Secretary of State John Kerry when he was a senator and signed into law by President Barack Obama in January.
Rapp said the reward could discourage others from engaging in brutal acts. He said they remind wanted criminals that “the world will continue to look for you.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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