One of the world’s most Wanted warlords, Joseph Kony, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group recently found safe haven in territory controlled by Sudan, a US based watchdog Resolve said on Friday, accusing the Sudanese military of offering aid to commanders of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Resolve said in a new report that Kony recently directed killings from an enclave protected by the Sudanese military. Until early this year, according to the report, Kony and some of his commanders were operating in Kafia Kingi, a disputed area along the Sudan-South Sudan border where African Union troops tasked with catching Kony don’t have access.
In a series of makeshift camps near a Sudanese army barracks, Kony “continued to direct LRA attacks against civilians in neighboring countries and issue new orders for LRA fighters.”
The Ugandan military — with support from U.S. military advisers — is the driving force behind the hunt for Kony. Ugandan army spokesman Col. Felix Kulayigye said the report vindicates Uganda’s contention that the LRA is a beneficiary of Sudanese support. Ugandan army officials said late last year they believed Kony was hiding in Sudan-controlled territory, although now they believe he has moved elsewhere.
“We always knew Kony was hiding in Kafia Kingi,” he said. “The way forward is that no country should be hiding a wanted criminal.”
Kony watchdog groups are concerned that Kony can retreat to Kafia Kingi whenever his pursuers get close. Resolve said it has satellite imagery of the now-abandoned camp where Kony was reportedly seen in late 2012. The warlord is no longer believed to be hiding there, the report noted, saying he may have crossed to Central African Republic.
Sudan has consistently denied charges it supports Kony, a warlord wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Sudan’s army spokesman Sawarmy Khaled denied reports on Friday that his country has provided shelter or refuge to Kony.
“The report is baseless and rejected. The Sudanese army has no renegade leaders. It is a united army and has no place for individual acts,” he told the official state news agency SUNA. “The Sudanese army has no interest in adopting or sheltering rebels from other countries.”
The United States government is evaluating the report that the LRA is operating in the Kafia Kingi region, said State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell Friday.
“The U.S. and the international community as a whole would take very seriously any credible evidence of support or safe haven being provided to the LRA,” said Ventrell, citing a December statement at the U.N. expressing concern about the LRA’s possible presence in Kafia Kingi.