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TODAY IN HISTORY: Bigombe talks to rebel leader Kony

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Added 3rd January 2020 01:14 PM

Kony was responsible for the abduction of children to become child soldiers and sex slaves. Over 66,000 children became soldiers, and 2 million people were displaced internally from 1986 to 2009.

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Kony was responsible for the abduction of children to become child soldiers and sex slaves. Over 66,000 children became soldiers, and 2 million people were displaced internally from 1986 to 2009.

Two days after the breakdown in talks between the Government and the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels, phone conversations were made between Betty Bigombe, the chief government negotiator plus security minister Betty Akech and LRA leader Joseph Kony and his deputy Vincent Otti.

This came after President Yoweri Museveni okayed further consultations by Bigombe.



Who is Joseph Kony
Joseph Kony was born in 1961 and led the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a guerrilla group that operated in northern Uganda.

Although he initially purported to fight against government oppression, the LRA tormented and brutalized the people of northern Uganda with no progress in efforts to dislodge the government.

Kony was responsible for the abduction of children to become child soldiers and sex slaves. Over 66,000 children became soldiers, and 2 million people were displaced internally from 1986 to 2009.

Kony was indicted in 2005 for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, but he has evaded capture.

Since the Juba peace talks in 2006, the LRA no longer operate in Uganda. They relocated to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR), where they continued there atrocities.

By April 2017, Kony was still at large, but his force was reported to have shrunk to approximately 100 soldiers, down from an estimated high of 3,000. Both the United States and Uganda ended the hunt for Kony and the LRA, believing that the LRA was no longer a significant security risk to Uganda.

Early life
Kony was born in 1961 in Odek, a village east of Gulu in northern Uganda to farmers Luizi Obol and Nora Oting. He was either the youngest or second youngest of six children in the family. Kony enjoyed a good relationship with his siblings but was quick to retaliate in a dispute and when confronted would often resort to physical violence. His father was a lay catechist of the Catholic Church, and his mother was an Anglican. His older sister, Gabriela Lakot, still lives in Odek.

Kony never finished elementary school and was an altar boy until 1976. He dropped out of school at the age of 15.

Rebel leader
In 1995, Kony arose to prominence in Acholiland after the Holy Spirit Movement of Alice Auma (also known as Lakwena and to whom Kony is believed to be related).

The overthrow of Acholi President Tito Okello by Yoweri Museveni and his National Resistance Army (NRA) during the Ugandan Bush War (1981–1986) had culminated in the mass movement of troops formerly loyal to Obote and Lutwa.

They were quickly mobilized and launched the insurgencies, which also gave rise to concentration camps in northern Uganda where over 2 million people were confined.

Indictment
In October 2006, the ICC announced that arrest warrants had been issued for five members of the Lord's Resistance Army for crimes against humanity following a sealed indictment. On the next day, Ugandan defense minister Amama Mbabazi revealed that the warrants include Kony, his deputy Vincent Otti, and LRA commanders Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen. According to spokesmen for the military, the Ugandan army killed Lukwiya on 12 August 2006. Otti had been killed on 2 October 2007, at Kony's home.

According to Betty Bigombe, Kony and his followers used oil to ward off bullets and evil spirits. In 2008, responding to a request by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to engage in peace talks via telephone, he said, "I will communicate with Museveni through the holy spirits and not through the telephone."

During peace talks in 1994, Kony was preceded by men in robes sprinkling holy water.

After the September 11 attacks, the United States designated the LRA as a terrorist group. On 28 August 2008, the United States Treasury Department placed Kony on its list of "Specially Designated Global Terrorists", a designation that carries financial and other penalties.

 In November 2008, US President George W. Bush signed the directive to the United States Africa Command to provide financial and logistical assistance to the Ugandan government during the unsuccessful 2008–2009 Garamba offensive, code-named Operation Lightning Thunder. No US troops were directly involved, but 17 U.S. advisers and analysts provided intelligence, equipment, and fuel to Ugandan military counterparts.

The offensive pushed Kony from his jungle camp, but he was not captured. One hundred children were rescued. In May 2010, US President Barack Obama signed into law the Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, legislation aimed at stopping Kony and the LRA. The bill passed unanimously in the United States Senate on 11 March.

On 12 May 2010, a motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill was agreed to by voice vote (two-thirds being in the affirmative) in the House of Representatives. In November 2010, President Obama delivered a strategy document to Congress asking for more funding to disarm Kony and the LRA.

In October 2011, President Obama authorized the deployment of approximately 100 combat-equipped U.S. troops to central Africa.

Their goal was to help regional forces remove Kony and senior LRA leaders from the battlefield.

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