WASHINGTON D.C. – Language authored by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that reconfirms the United States’ commitment to remove Joseph Kony from the battlefield and end the atrocities of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) was included in the National Defense Authorization Act passed by the Senate today.
“I’ve traveled to the region terrorized by the LRA. I’ve met kids that have escaped the clutches of Joseph Kony. It is imperative for the security of the region, and the protection of basic human rights, that we capture Kony and end the LRA’s atrocities that continue throughout the region,” Boozman said. “The LRA’s crimes number in the thousands. Thankfully, the group’s soldiers only number in the low hundreds now. But Kony is still out there and he is still ordering his group to commit atrocities. He must be captured and brought to justice.”
Since September 2008, the LRA has since been forced to operate on the run. During this period alone, the LRA is estimated to have killed more than 2,300 people, abducted more than 5,200, and displaced hundreds of thousands more in South Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They have survived by remaining elusive. Kony regularly splits what is left of his army up into small groups. They move constantly and avoid detection by communicating under the radar.
In 2011, President Obama authorized Operation Observant Compass, deploying approximately 100 combat-equipped U.S. forces to central Africa to provide technical assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Kony and senior LRA commanders from the battlefield.
The language Boozman authored reconfirms the U.S.’s commitment to Operation Observant Compass and calls on the Department of Defense (DOD) to support the mission by better enabling African militaries of the region to remove Kony and his top commanders from the battlefield. It also calls on regional governments to recommit themselves to the Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the LRA authorized by the African Union.