Cast your mind back to 2012 – simpler times, right?
Your mom wasn’t on Facebook, meaning you didn’t have to worry about some cringeworthy comment on a picture from two years she somehow stumbled upon, and Donald Trump was just a rich prick who thought it was OK to sexually assault women.
He is still a rich prick, but apparently no one has more respect for women than he does. We digress.
It was also the year in which the KONY 2012 campaign blew up – and we mean really blew up.
This video began it all, and currently sits at over 100 million views on YouTube:
It’s been rather quiet on the Joseph Kony front for a while, though, and it appears the warlord has won the battle.
America’s role in the hunt for Lord Resistance Army [LRA] leader Joseph Kony has officially begun to draw to a close, even though the notorious warlord is still on the loose…
Approximately 100 combat-ready US troops have aided the effort since the US-backed mission to capture Kony first began…at a cost to the US of about $780 million, Pentagon spokeswoman Maj. Audricia Harris told CNN Monday.
That’s a lot of dosh without capturing the main man, and by September all the US troops involved in efforts to capture him will be redeployed.
Despite their withdrawal, US officials still consider the operation a success:
“The extent of LRA attacks and related deaths has dropped significantly over recent years, and the number of LRA fighters has decreased dramatically,” Robyn Mack, a spokeswoman for Africa Command, told CNN in an email…
“The bottom line is, this operation, although not achieving the ability to get to Kony himself, has essentially taken that group off the battlefield and for the last several years, they’ve really been reduced to irrelevance,” Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the commander of Africa Command, told reporters at the Pentagon in March.
Here’s the thing, though – other groups believe that as long as Kony is free, he will continue to wreak havoc. Those groups include Invisible Children, “a nonprofit group that advocates for children and communities affected by the long-running conflict”, and whose name has become synomynous with efforts to capture the warlord:
[Paul Ronan, director of research and policy at Invisible Children] acknowledged the mission’s impact, saying it significantly helped reduce the number of civilians killed by Kony’s forces.
But he called the planned ongoing withdrawal “disappointing,” adding that “the decision by the US and Ugandan troops to withdraw before the job is finished leaves the LRA with an opening to ramp up recruitment of child soldiers and resume large-scale massacres.”
It is estimated, according to UNICEF, that Kony’s army abducted more than 60 000 children between 1986 and 2005.
A massive bounty remains on his head, with the US State Department offering up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest, transfer or conviction.
According to Invisible Children, who published a five year update recently, “Joseph Kony and a small group of LRA fighters have enjoyed safe-haven in a disputed border region called Kafia Kingi. Controlled by Sudan, the region is very difficult to access, both logistically and politically”.
Only time will tell whether or not Kony ever ends up captured, but he sure as hell isn’t going down without a fight.
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