9 October 2017

Uganda: Angelina Jolie Offered to Lure Kony to His Arrest

Photo: Mark Hanner, CBS News
UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie

As the hunt for the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony continues, it turns out one of the celebrated American actress was once used as a bait to capture the seemingly elusive insurgent.

According to Britain's The Sunday Times newspaper, actress Angelina Jolie had offered to lure the Kony to a dinner in 2012 to have him arrested.

"... Jolie offered to act as a honey trap to capture one of Africa's most notorious war criminals, according to documents leaked from within the International Criminal Court (ICC)," the paper reported on October 8.

"In one leaked email sent by Moreno Ocampo, he claims that Jolie 'has the idea to invite Kony to dinner and then arrest him."

The dinner, one can conclude from The Times article, was to be in the Central African Republic (CAR) - where Kony had fled in 2006 from Sudan.

As the two would be dining, the United States Special Force - which was already in the CAR - was to swoop and arrest Kony.

The Sunday Times bases its article on leaked ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo electronic mail (e-mail).

Hundreds of the mail, which is now in the hands of French investigative website, Mediapart, was later accessed by The Times.

Ms Jolie's 'offer' came on the heels of requests by the then ICC chief prosecutor Ocampo.

According to the article, Jolie, a campaigner for international humanitarian causes, replied to Mr Ocampo thus: '... Let's discuss logistics... '

"There are no further details in the documents about the dinner and the proposed trip does not appear to have gone ahead," The Times noted.

Noteworthy, the paper indicated that with time, Ms Jolie's interest in communication with Mr Ocampo was waning.

The ICC indicted Kony in 2005 for murder, rape, enslavement and enforced conscription of children.

He has been on the run since and in April 2017, the US Special Forces, who had been in CAR since 2011 to hunt for him, gave up the chase.

The wires, quoting General Thomas Waldhauser, the head of the US military's Africa Command, attributed the withdrawal of the US special force to the weakening of the LRA.

"The organisation [(LRA)] is really in a survival mode," Gen Waldhauser said then.

The Washington Post (WP) would later report that 'the LRA continues to carry out intermittent attacks, but it has not been responsible for major atrocities since 2010'.

It added that Martin Ewi, a senior researcher at the South Africa - based Institute for Security Studies, said the withdrawal of Ugandan and U.S. troops is going to leave a huge vacuum.

"It is true the group has been weakened," The WP quoted Mr Ewi saying. "But it has not been defeated, so therefore we can't sit comfortably and say this group does not pose a threat to us."

To that, Gen Waldhauser, said the U.S. forces will continue to help [to] train militaries in central Africa.

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