60 Minutes: Joseph Kony
About 100 US troops are somewhere in the African jungle on a manhunt for Joseph Kony, a wanted warlord. Lara Logan reported that the US is helping to stop the spread of terrorist networks on the continent.
60 Minutes: Kony’s Central African Republic
You might remember Kony’s name from the headlines in recent years, as activists attempted to get his name out there and raise awareness about the atrocities he is said to have committed and the child armies he has recruited.
What started in Uganda has spread to four countries, and 60 Minutes traveled to the Central African Republic to tell a shocking and unheard story.
60 Minutes: Lord’s Resistance Army
Deep water, undergrowth, and isolation are all working to Kony’s advantage as special troops are on the hunt to find him and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). They are using animal tracking techniques, such as looking for footprints, to aid them in their search.
The Ugandan army has been at work to find Kony for at least three years, and soldiers whisper as they look for signs. Tracks may grow scarce for several days, or disappear at the water’s edge.
60 Minutes: Colonel Kurt Crytzer
American Green Berets keep a low profile and are there to aid the African forces, according to Colonel Kurt Crytzer. He has been a Green Beret for 23 years, and he took Lara Logan on a helicopter tour of the search area, which is roughly the size of Texas.
“The environment is some of the most unforgiving on planet Earth,” he said, saying that just a few steps into the jungle, one can disappear like a ghost.
60 Minutes: Joseph Kony LRA
Over a quarter century ago, at the age of 26, Joseph Kony disappeared like a ghost into that wilderness. His army burns down homes, destroys villages, and cuts off people’s ears or lips to get their attention.
According to the US State Department, more than 25,000 children have been abducted through the years to support and grow the army. Photos or videos of Kony are rare, but he set out for the LRA to create a government based on the Bible’s ten commandments.
60 Minutes: US Search For Joseph Kony
Why is the US getting invested in this situation now? Crytzer could not speak about the past, but looked at the present and future, as he is part of a team scouring the Central African Republic.
Green Berets train soldiers in how to speak French or improvise first aid for dire situations in the jungle. The US presence is small, but is focused on building relationships and earning trust.
60 Minutes: Joseph Kony Vs Osama Bin Laden
A Green Beret might help in a doctor’s office or assist in dental procedures. The next day, he might be meeting with local leadership, offering help and gaining intelligence.
Crytzer said that human intelligence was the key to locating Osama Bin Laden, and it is hoped that this will be the case in the search for Kony as well.
60 Minutes: LRA Defector Caesar Acellam
A former LRA leader, Major General Caesar Acellam, was captured by Ugandan forces and has been able to offer insight into the current state of the organization.
Acellam reported that Kony is fighting to survive. He recalled spending 20 years as an intelligence chief for the LRA, after being abducted into the LRA as a child.
60 Minutes: Kony’s Child Army
Acellam said that he and others carried out instructions from Kony, whether they wanted to or not, including murder, assault, and destruction, because the leader rules out of fear.
Children are especially susceptible to Kony’s supposed mystical powers. A group of former soldiers also spoke to 60 Minutes. They were brought into the fold with the understanding that they were following instructions directly from God.
60 Minutes: LRA Initiation Ceremony
Another former LRA soldier shared an initiation ceremony involving oil put on the body in the shape of a cross. This ceremony, the men said, does work to change them into following Kony’s instructions.
The men admitted that they were told as children to bite people to death if they tried to escape from the army. Betty Bigombe, an advocate for the children of Uganda, recalled that in recent years, children were on the run to avoid being abducted or drawn into the army.
60 Minutes: Betty Bigombe & Joseph Kony
Bigombe said it created a lot of uncertainty and fear for residents. She focused on brokering peace between the Ugandan government and Kony. But she got a message from the dictator, in the form of five disfigured people bearing a letter advising her to stop fighting Kony.
“If anything, it gave me even more determination,” she said. She actually met with Kony in 1994, nearly 20 years ago, escorted by LRA soldiers through the jungle.
60 Minutes: Joseph Kony Rare Video
A rare video from their meeting showed some of the revelry and pageantry surrounding a meeting with Kony. “I wish I could just open his brain and understand why he does what he does,” she said of the meeting years ago.
Now the US has taken up the cause of defeating Kony’s army. What’s more, Acellam is assisting efforts by recording messages that are broadcast to soldiers hiding in the jungle from helicopters, instructing them in a familiar voice to give up the fight.
60 Minutes: LRA Defectors
Crytzer said that leaflets bearing the former LRA leader’s photograph, encouraging them to abandon the cause, knowing they can be safe outside the army itself.
Defections are reportedly on the rise, and just a few hundred are believed to be remaining. More recently, search efforts have been suspended due to growing political unrest.
60 Minutes: When Will Joseph Kony Be Captured?
Ugandan soldiers did manage to capture and kill Kony’s top bodyguard. With support dwindling, how much longer can Joseph Kony hang on and survive?
Crytzer said that he is hopeful that the mission is coming to an end. Any day now, he said, could be the one when Kony is captured at last.