Clinton hopes for improved drones to find Kony

AP News
Posted: Aug 03, 2012 2:53 PM
Clinton hopes for improved drones to find Kony

ENTEBBE, Uganda (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday she hopes drones will soon be able to see through jungle cover so they can locate warlord Joseph Kony.

Clinton made the remark in Uganda as she watched a small U.S.-made drone that the Ugandan military uses in Somalia to fight al-Qaida-linked militants.

The U.S. last year sent 100 special forces advisers to Central Africa to help hunt Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, a band of jungle-roaming militants known for kidnapping children, taking girls as sex slaves and disfiguring victims. Ugandan forces are at the forefront in the hunt for Kony, whose campaign of terror originated in Uganda but who now is elsewhere in central Africa.

"Now we have to figure out how we can see through thick vegetation to find Joseph Kony," Clinton said at a Ugandan military base on Lake Victoria shortly after meeting with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. She chuckled as she made the comment, but it was clear she was serious about boosting the capabilities of troops searching for Kony.

Kony's terror rampage was made famous earlier this year by a viral Internet campaign by the U.S.-based aid group Invisible Children. The U.S. troops helping in the hunt are in Uganda, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Congo.

"We have to figure out how to work with all the countries where he and his criminal bands are perhaps hiding. We have to put our heads together to find out what additional equipment and support you need to lead this effort to rid the world of this terrible man and his criminal behavior," Clinton said.

Later, in Kampala, Clinton visited an AIDS clinic where she noted that new infections are on the rise.

A recent government report said the prevalence of HIV in this East African nation increased from 6.4 percent in 2004 to 7.3 percent in 2011, a shocking statistic for a country once praised for its global leadership in controlling AIDS. The same report said the number of Ugandans with HIV had doubled since 2004, from 1.2 million to 2.4 million.

"I am here because I am worried," said Clinton, who also said she had raised this issue with Museveni. "In recent years, the focus on prevention has faded, and new infections are on the rise again. ... Uganda is now the only country in sub-Saharan Africa where the rate is going up instead of down.

"So I am hoping that together we can work on making the focus on prevention again and making sure that the rate of infection goes down, down, down," she said.

Earlier in the day, Clinton traveled to the world's newest nation, South Sudan, to urge its leaders and their counterparts in the north to quickly reach agreements on oil revenue and other pressing issues to resolve festering differences that threaten to reignite a decades-long conflict.

Clinton flew to South Sudan's capital of Juba for a brief visit to offer U.S. support, but more importantly, to stress the urgency of ending disputes with Sudan over oil and territory. Those disputes have led to clashes between the two countries which many fear could crater the 2005 peace deal that ended what was then Africa's longest-running civil war.

"While South Sudan and Sudan have become separate states, their fortunes and their futures remain inextricably linked," Clinton said at a news conference. "Now it is urgent that both sides, north and south, follow through and reach timely agreements on all outstanding issues. The people of South Sudan expect it."

The two sides had faced a Thursday U.N. Security Council deadline to reach agreement on the issues or face possible sanctions, but the council deferred action until at least Wednesday.

The disputes, particularly over oil revenue, have led to severe economic problems in both Sudan and South Sudan. But the South, which celebrated its first year as an independent nation last month, is in a more precarious situation as it is more heavily dependent on outside assistance.

Clinton urged the two sides to reach an interim agreement on oil revenue.

"This is a delicate moment because you have made a strong, irrefutable point about your rights to your resources, and now we need to get those resources flowing again," she said at a news conference with Nhial Deng Nhial, South Sudan's foreign minister. "A percentage of something is better than a percentage of nothing."

Clinton also said an agreement could give South Sudan time to look at the feasibility of building another pipeline that would bypass Sudan.


Associated Press Writer Rodney Muhumuza in Kampala, Uganda contributed to this report.