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US posts $5 mn reward for LRA leader Kony

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The United States on Wednesday posted a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Lord's Resistance Army chief Joseph Kony, as well as a similar bounty for three other rebel leaders.

Kony has been on the run in the jungles of Central Africa, but the LRA has waged a fierce insurgency across four countries for two decades. It is notorious for mutilating victims and abducting children for use as sex slaves and soldiers.

Kony's name was added to the State Department's war crimes rewards program along with fellow LRA members Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen, and Sylvestre Mudacumura from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

The LRA was "one of the world's most brutal armed groups," Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice Ambassador Stephen Rapp told reporters.

"We act today so that there can be justice for the innocent men, women and children, who've been subjected to mass murder, amputation, enslavement and other atrocities," he said.

"Accountability is a key pillar of the United States atrocity prevention initiative," Rapp added.

The UN says about 450,000 people have been displaced by LRA attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Uganda and South Sudan.

The LRA has also now turned to ivory trafficking and extended its area of operations, a UN Security Council meeting was told in December.

Although the number of LRA attacks was down last year, there were some assaults as far west as Bangassou in Central African Republic, where scores of men, women and children were abducted in September.

US President Barack Obama last year authorized a mission by 100 US special forces helping Ugandan troops scour the African jungles for Kony, one of the world's most wanted men.

But the Ugandan army said Wednesday it has suspended the hunt after rebels seized control of the Central African Republic last month.

jkb/dw

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130403/us-posts-5-mn-reward-lra-leader-kony-0