Green Berets and U.S. intelligence personnel have bolstered the manhunt in central Africa that is reportedly gaining ground on despot Joseph Kony’s rebel group, accused of abducting and conscripting children and killing more than 1,000 civilians since 2009.
Living among four African militaries in the bush, 100 U.S. special operations troops — mostly Special Forces A teams — are advising military leaders, sharing critical intelligence through “fusion centers” and coordinating combat operations to protect locals and target the Lord’s Resistance Army.
With U.S. backing, Ugandan forces captured one of Kony’s top commanders, a chief LRA strategist, Caesar Acellam, after a brief clash in Kampala on May 12. Army officials would not say whether U.S. intelligence led to the arrest. But the soldiers brought new capabilities — including enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance — to the hunt for Kony.
The U.S. task force also supports armies from the Central African Republic, Republic of South Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo, all of which have been ravaged by the LRA.
President Obama announced the U.S. would deploy special operations troops to Africa last October.
Congress has authorized $35 million for counter-LRA ops in central Africa. The LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act was signed into law in May 2010.
The U.S. forces were selected based on their regional knowledge, experience, judgment and competence, Maj. James Scott Rawlinson, a spokesman for Special Operations Command Africa, wrote in an email.
The downrange operators also coordinate with U.S. embassies to integrate operations into broader U.S. government efforts, Rawlinson said.
The troops are stationed in:
- Obo, Central African Republic;
- Dungu, Democratic Republic of the Congo;
- Nzara, South Sudan;
- Entebbe and Kampala, Uganda,
but can travel central Africa by air or ground “as the situation dictates,” he said.
via SF soldiers make progress in hunt for Kony – Military News | News From Afghanistan, Iraq And Around The World – Military Times.
Maurice Carney: A U.S.-based unit has been selected as the Army’s first “regionally aligned” brigade, and by next year its soldiers could begin conducting operations in Africa.
less stability, more violence for the democratic republic of congo – the world’s favorite slaughterhouse
The displacement of 20,000 Congolese people following violence between rebels and the army is ominously redolent of the 2008 conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
After three years of tentative peace in the restive Kivu provinces in easternDemocratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), people are once again on the move. Violence has flared between a group of recidivist rebels and the national army, sending thousands fleeing to camps within the country and over the border to Rwanda and Uganda.
Former fighters of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) mutinied in April, having been integrated into the army in March 2009. They have since moved from the old CNDP heartland of Masisi towards the borders with Rwanda and Uganda, driving a wave of terrified people ahead of them. Officials estimate that more than 40,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, with more than 8,000 heading for Rwanda.
“We’re fleeing fighting between the ex-CNDP militia and the army,” said Nzabandora, who did not give his last name, as he paused for a break on his walk
Congolese refugees from north Kivu arrive at Nkamira transit camp, Rubavu district, near the border town of Gisenyi in Rwanda. Photograph: Dai Kurokawa/EPA
from Kibumba to Goma last week. Kibumba was attacked by the rebels on 8 May; Nzabandora had pushed an improvised wooden bicycle, weighed down with his belongings, more than 10km. There was still another 15km to go. “We saw lots of [national] army soldiers and fled,” he said. “The soldiers were moving towards the positions of the ex-CNDP, so we left.”
Thousands of Kibumba residents made the same journey, not knowing where they would end up. “I don’t even have a destination,” said Nzabandora. “We will walk towards Goma, and hope to find somewhere to sleep. Maybe a church, or a school. We are simply fleeing for our lives – we have no hope for the future at the moment.”
There was little support waiting for the fleeing population at Goma. Juvenal Sabonepa headed with his wife and children to Goma, even though he has no family or friends there. He had hoped for aid, but found nothing. “No NGOs have come, there is no food, no drinking water, no healthcare,” he said. “We have to work together to look after ourselves, but we have nothing to give our children.”
In the absence of support from NGOs or agencies, the community in Goma has come to the aid of the displaced population. Sabonepa and his family were welcomed into the home of Alphonse Katabera, who lives on Goma’s outskirts. “This is my house, we welcomed these people in,” said Katabera. “As you can see, there is nowhere else for them to go. The communities look after each other, we support each other. I have shared my house, my food, my drinking water with them. We are happy to welcome them.”
from the guardian, u.k.
The hunt for Kony burst into worldwide view in March after a half-hour video about his atrocities went viral
President Obama sent the soldiers last fall to advise Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan on efforts to disarm Kony and his brutal band.
After limiting the initial deployment to several months, the president later extended the troops’ tour of duty. “Our advisors will continue their efforts to bring this madman to justice, and to save lives,” Obama told an audience at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in April.
Though Kony continues to evade international forces, the manhunt may be pressuring the rebel leader. In May, Ugandan troops, with American military support, captured Caesar Achellam, a top Kony lieutenant.
“The last 11 weeks have been the most intense period of global engagement in the history of the LRA conflict,” Invisible Children, the group behind the “Kony 2012″ video tweeted Thursday.
The American military response represents one of a series of measures to rid central Africa of Kony and his followers
from the NY Daily News U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee adds $50 million for Joseph Kony manhunt
Fighters in the country’s east hope a joint force would put up stiff resistance against government troops.
Armed fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo are considering joining forces to fight the government. They are soldiers who defected from the military.
Already, the army is battling a rebel group called M23.
Nazanine Moshiri has this exclusive report from Lubero district in North Kivu.
Rap News Episode 12: YES WE KONY.
It’s March, and the Internet delivers 2012′s first globe-consuming meme: the unstoppable, Stop-Kony 2012 video, which has highlighted the plight of African child soldiering like never before. But is it really good? Is it really bad? Or is the world really more complex than ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’? Whatevers; one thing’s for sure, this is momentous: never had a 27-minute video devoid of both cats and boobs ever achieved such virality. Is this a demonstration of the internet’s ability to instantly inform and engage tens of millions; and a hopeful sign that there is a willingness among those millions, to engage passionately with something more meaningful? Or does Kony2012 just mark the dawn of a rapacious new era of viral humanitarian marketing? Join your charitable host Robert Foster – and our special guest, General Baxter, direct from AFRICOM – as we delve into the dark heart of the matter.