Kony, Joseph Rao

Kony, Joseph Rao, 1964?–, Ugandan rebel and war criminal. His cousin, Alice Lakwena, led the Holy Spirit Movement against (1986–87) Uganda's President Museveni, and when she was defeated, Kony formed the what became Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), which many of her followers joined. Claiming prophetic guidance, he called for Museveni's ouster and led the LRA in brutal attacks on villages and schools, killing or maiming adults and kidnapping boys for child soldiers and girls for sex slaves. Some 2 million were displaced by the violence over 20 years, and tens of thousands of children abducted. Weakened by Ugandan government offensives, Kony and the LRA largely abandoned Uganda by 2006, terrorizing neighboring areas of Congo (Kinshasa), the Central African Republic, and what is now South Sudan, where government control was weaker. Wanted by the International Criminal Court since 2005, Kony has participated in several peace negotiations, each time breaking off talks; Sudan has been accused of aiding the LRA and providing it with a safe haven in the disputed Kafia Kingi region on the Central African Republic border. In 2012 the African Union agreed to set up a four-nation regional military force, headed by Uganda and also supported by U.S. special forces, to capture Kony. Although Kony eluded capture, Uganda and the United States ended their involvement in the force in 2017, saying that the LRA had been rendered irrelevant. In July, 2017, however, the United Nations said that the LRA was become increasingly active in N Congo (Kinshasa).

See studies by M. Green (2008), P. Eichstaedt (2009), T. Allen (2010), and O. Oloya (2013).

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