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Cornering A Killer In Africa

Author: Michael J. Gerson, Roger Hertog Senior Fellow
January 9, 2009
Washington Post

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On Dec. 14, the Ugandan army launched an attack on leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Congo, targeting its commander, Joseph Kony.

Kony's epic career of murder has few equals. As both a rebel and a cult leader in northern Uganda, he led an army of stolen children and sex slaves, sometimes forcing his captives to engage in cannibalism and the murder of neighbors to sever ties of community and humanity. The LRA has been known to line roads with the heads of enemies. Terror and conflict displaced millions of Ugandans into camps. When Kony lost his havens in that country, he fled into the chaotic vastness of Congo, using the cover of peace negotiations to raise another force of terrorists and child soldiers.

For years, Uganda planned a complex military operation against the LRA in Congo. It would start with bombing runs by MiG fighters, then a helicopter assault, then the deployment of commandos, then the advance of two army brigades. Some units would liberate a nearby camp where families of LRA soldiers--about 300 women and children--were kept as hostages to prevent defections. Troops from Congo and southern Sudan would block escape routes.

But Uganda's troop deployments were delayed. Suddenly word arrived that Kony, fearing attack, would soon hold a meeting of LRA leaders and order them to flee into the bush. Uganda decided to move ahead.

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