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US Imposes Sanctions against Joseph Kony, LRA :: Uganda Radionetwork
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US Imposes Sanctions against Joseph Kony, LRA

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The action freezes any LRA assets within U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with the group. It also adds to the sanctions already in place against Kony, who was designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in August 2008.
Survivors of the LRA war in Uganda with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga
The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control has imposed sanctions against the Lord's Resistance Army and its leader, Joseph Kony for engaging in  acts of violence, abduction, and forced displacement of civilians in Central African Republic.

The action freezes any LRA assets within U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with the group. It also adds to the sanctions already in place against Kony, who was designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in August 2008 over links to terrorism with a 5 million US dollar reward placed over his head.

“From murdering innocent civilians to pillaging villages, the Lord's Resistance Army is responsible for notorious acts of violence,” said John E. Smith, OFAC Acting Director.  Today's action supports Treasury's broader effort to dismantle this militia group and seek a more stable and secure future for the people of the Central African Republic and the region,” Smith adds.

The decision is in line with an executive order no. 13667 signed by American President Barack Obama on May 12, 2014 to address the sectarian tension and widespread violence and atrocities in the Central African Republic. 

The order  authorizes Treasury to impose sanctions on those who threaten the peace, security, or stability of the CAR, obstruct the peace process in the CAR, recruit child soldiers, target peacekeepers, fuel the conflict in the CAR through the illicit trade of natural resources, or are responsible for human rights abuses or other atrocities in the CAR.

This is in addition to the inclusion of the LRA on the Terrorism Exclusion List by the U.S. Department of State in 2001.

The U.S. sanctions complement United Nations sanctions imposed on the Lord's Resistance Army and Kony on Monday. The U.N. action imposes a global asset freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo on the LRA.

The Lord's Resistance Army which led rebellion in Northern Uganda for more than two decades is notorious for the abduction and mutilation of thousands of civilians across central Africa. Under increasing military pressure, Kony ordered the LRA to withdraw from Uganda in 2005 and 2006. 

According to the United Nations, the Ugandan LRA has killed more than 100,000 people, and abducted more than 60,000 children in Uganda as well as neighboring countries since its inception in the late 1980s.

The LRA has been concentrated in eastern CAR and Kafia Kingi, a territory on the border of Sudan and South Sudan whose final status has yet to be determined, while also operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan since 2006.

Since December 2013, the LRA has kidnapped, displaced, committed sexual violence against, and killed hundreds of individuals across the Central African Republic as well as looted and destroyed civilian property, a statement by the US department of Treasury says. LRA fighters also ambush security forces and steal their equipment in response to attacks, it adds.

It further faults the LRA for engaging in a high prevalence of gender-based violence including rapes of women and young girls, and affecting humanitarian response activities in southeastern CAR, where approximately 21,000 Central Africans and 3,200 refugees from the DRC have been displaced as a result of LRA violence.

From January 2014 through early July 2015, the LRA has been involved in at least 329 civilian abductions in CAR.  In July 2015, the LRA attacked several villages in southern Haute-Kotto Prefecture by looting, committing violence against civilians, burning of houses, and kidnapping.

In addition to its attacks on civilians, the LRA has engaged in illicit diamonds trade, elephant poaching, and ivory trafficking for revenue generation since at least 2014.  The LRA has been reported to traffic  ivory from Garamba National Park in northern DRC through CAR to Kafia Kingi, where senior LRA officials sell and trade with local merchants and officials.

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