Senate pushes measure condemning Kony

AP News
Posted: Mar 21, 2012 4:51 PM
Senate pushes measure condemning Kony

A bipartisan group of 34 senators introduced a resolution Wednesday condemning Joseph Kony and his ruthless guerrilla group for a 26-year campaign of terror in central Africa that has been marked by child abductions and widespread killings.

The measure backs the effort of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and the newest country, South Sudan, to stop Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army. The legislation also signals support for the U.S. effort to help regional forces pursue commanders of the militia group. Last October, President Barack Obama sent about 100 U.S. troops _ mostly Army Special Forces _ to central Africa as advisers to regional forces.

Decrying "unconscionable crimes against humanity," Sen. Chris Coons said Kony "represents the worst of mankind, and he and his commanders must be held accountable for their war crimes."

Coons, D-Del., is chairman of the foreign relations subcommittee on African affairs.

Another member of the panel, Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, said it's imperative that Kony is found and the LRA disarmed. "Only then, will we be able to bring stability to Africa."

The Lord's Resistance Army has kidnapped thousands of children through nearly three decades, forcing them to become sex slaves, fight as soldiers or kill family members. Coons and Inhofe said 66,000 children in Uganda alone have been kidnapped. During the last four years, after the LRA moved west, it's estimated that the group has killed more than 2,400 people and abducted more than 3,400.

The U.S. designated the group a terrorist organization in 2001. Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for heinous attacks in multiple countries.

Coons, in an interview, said the goal is to "make 2012 the year that we finally deliver Joseph Kony to the international criminal court."

That's the same goal of the advocacy group Invisible Children, which produced a 30-minute video to make Kony a household name and raise awareness for his crimes. The video has been viewed by more than 80 million people, with celebrities such as Rihanna and Justin Bieber, spreading the word.