American politician puts bounty on Kony’s head
A US Congressman has introduced a law which if passed, could place a reward for whoever arrests the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony’s who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Edward Royce, the representative from California who also chairs the foreign affairs subcommittee on terrorism, nonproliferation, and trade, introduced the “Department of State Rewards Program Update and Technical Corrections Act of 2012.”
A press statement issued on Friday from Royce’s office said that the law aims to update the State Department’s already existing Rewards Program, which was introduced in 1984 to offer rewards for information related to terrorists, narcotics traffickers and specific international war criminals.
It proposes to include those involved in transnational organized crime and others wanted for the most serious human rights abuses and allow the use of the Rewards Program to target those indicted by international, hybrid or mixed tribunals for genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity.
Royce said that the law will be another tool to target the world’s worst criminals.
“Expanding this program to include global organized crime responds to the growing evidence that terrorists and insurgents are increasingly turning to criminal networks for funding and support, a topic my subcommittee has explored,” Royce said.
“Targeting those who assist terrorists and drug cartels with weapons, sophisticated forgeries, and money laundering is just as important as targeting the organizations themselves. This legislation provides another tool to do so,” said Royce.
Royce is a former chairperson of the US Congress’ Africa Subcommittee. He also sponsored the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act which was signed into law last year.
Royce said, “One priority is Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which has terrorized northern Uganda and central Africa for over two decades. An aggressive rewards program seeking information on Kony and top LRA commanders could help generate intelligence on their location and promote defections – both goals of U.S. policy. It is time to end Kony’s reign of terror.”
LRA was kicked out from Uganda four years ago but remains active in South Sudan, CAR and DRC. Kony and his commanders are wanted by ICC to answer charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In October last year, US President Barack Obama sent U.S. troops to train and advice the UPDF in its efforts to battle the LRA. The US troops are deployed in South Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR) and DR Congo and are helping the joint forces in tracking, intelligence assessment and conducting patrols.
By Raymond Baguma, The New Vision
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