U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, issued the following statement in light of developments relating to the multilateral hunt for Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army in Central Africa.
"Joseph Kony and his commanders in the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) are war criminals whose heinous acts have wreaked havoc across Central Africa for the last 25 years. It is important that they are brought to justice for unconscionable crimes against humanity, even as the political situation in the Central African Republic has destabilized. It is my hope that Uganda's suspension of operations in the hunt for Kony and the LRA will be resolved soon and that multilateral operations will quickly resume. Now is not the time to give up the search.
"In expanding its Rewards for Justice program today to include a $5 million reward for the apprehension of Kony and other LRA leaders, the United States has reasserted its commitment to bringing their reign of terror in the region to an end. Last year, I worked with then-Senator John Kerry to pass legislation to expand the Rewards for Justice program to include Joseph Kony and LRA commanders with hopes that financial incentive would increase LRA defections and bolster intelligence guiding the regional hunt. Secretary Kerry's announcement today that our legislative directive has officially been implemented is particularly well timed.
"Leaders from across Africa and around the world have universally condemned Joseph Kony and the LRA, and today their words must be matched with action. It is my deep hope that the other nations who have contributed forces to the counter-LRA effort keep up the search, and that Ugandan forces are returned to the operation as quickly as possible."