- - Monday, October 15, 2012

Where is Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony?

Just a few months ago, the viral Internet video “Kony 2012” led the world to believe it would soon have the answer to that question. Amassing nearly 100 million views within a week of its release in March, the video called for the warlord’s capture by year’s end.

Millions of dollars in donations poured in. The U.S. government bolstered its strategic coordination with regional governments that would provide ground troops.

But whatever momentum the 30-minute documentary conjured has largely evaporated.

Kony, whose Lord's Resistance Army has survived on a steady regimen of rape, murder, pillage and abduction across East and Central Africa, remains a fugitive, as African Union countries — Uganda, Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic — struggle to coordinate their forces and amass the political will to bring justice to one of Africa’s most infamous warlords.

“Fundamentally, not much has changed,” said Peter Eichstaedt, author of “First Kill Your Family: Child Soldiers of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army.”

About 2,000 African Union troops have the task of combing dense jungles, sometimes without making contact with the Lord's Resistance Army.

Analysts say the mission could use an additional 3,000 troops to hunt down Kony's militia and keep villagers safe from attacks.

So far, none of the involved AU countries has committed more troops.

Last month, the head of the African Union force assigned to find Kony, Ugandan Col. Dick Olum, was waiting for troops and equipment to embark from his base in Yambio, South Sudan.

Uganda, the best equipped of the AU forces, has about 6,000 troops assigned to Somalia to fight the Islamist militant group al-Shabab. The government has been depleted domestically by mismanagement and poor economic performance.

The three other partner nations are among the weakest in the world.

Regional politics also appears to be hindering efforts.

Congo has forbidden Ugandan troops from entering the country to hunt for the rebels because of Uganda’s history of plundering the country’s minerals. Ugandan soldiers reportedly raped women and children in northern Congo in 2010 and 2011.

The depleted Congolese army, meanwhile, has been handling unrest in Kivu province in eastern Congo.

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