Sudan accused of using Kony's army


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The Independent Online

Sudan's government has been accused by Uganda of providing support to the notorious rebel leader Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

Ugandan military commanders said they had new evidence to support previous allegations that Khartoum has been supplying the rebel army accused of repeated atrocities against civilians in Central Africa.

Both Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir and Joseph Kony, newly famous after a controversial social media campaign, are wanted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

Khartoum's critics in the region have repeatedly claimed that Mr al-Bashir is backing the LRA as a means of destabilising South Sudan.

The latest accusations come as the two Sudans stand on the brink of a return to full-scale war and Uganda has publicly warned the north that it will militarily back South Sudan in the event of a wider conflict.

"Kony has always been a pawn in the Khartoum chess game over South Sudan," said Ugandan army spokesman Colonel Felix Kulayigye. "They have used him before and they hope to use him again to destabilise South Sudan."

The hunt for Joseph Kony has shot to the top of the political agenda in Washington after the online success of a viral video by a US-based campaigning group calling for the capture of the LRA leader.

The US has sent military advisors to assist in Ugandan efforts to capture Kony and the African Union has announced a new force to be based out of South Sudan to hunt for him. Sudan's Information Minister yesterday denied the Ugandan claims. "We have no relationship whatsoever with this Ugandan rebel and we have not supported and are not supporting him now," said Abdulla Ali Masar. "We have no reason to support him."

Despite the official denials, the regime in Khartoum has a long history of using proxy forces to destabilise the south and has routinely accused South Sudan of supporting rebel groups within its borders.

One of Africa's most feared rogue militias, the LRA has carried out a campaign of mass abductions along the remote border between the Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

A campaign launched in the 1980s claiming to defend the rights of the Acholi people in northern Uganda has long since moved beyond that country's borders to become a byword for sadism.

Their leader and self-styled messiah, Joseph Kony, was supposed to be on the point of surrender six years ago, but those efforts collapsed and the LRA has continued to rampage through the borderlands of Central Africa displacing up to half a million people according to UN estimates.