Reporter Sorious Samura investigates the myths surrounding one of Africa's most bizarre and brutal criminals, Joseph Kony, and the international fight to bring him to justice.
Browse content similar to Kony: Hunt for the World's Most Wanted. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
This is Joseph Kony, one of the world's most wanted men. I am not
guilty. I am not guilty. As one of the most prolific killers in
history, Kony and his commanders are wanted for crimes against
humanity. He is a psychopath and he has got multiple personality
disorder. Said to have supernatural powers, he has ruined the lives of
millions. All I thought was that I would lose my life. That would be
the end of May. He turns children into curlers and ordered his
commanders to rape schoolgirls. Are you proud of yourself? I am not
proud. I am only disappointed with my life. Now he is hunted by the UN
and thousands of African troops backed by the planet's most
powerful military machine. advisers will continue their
efforts to bring this mad man to justice and save lives. This is
Joseph Kony. The black guy? And he is the target of a global campaign
demanding that he be captured this year. If we succeed, we changed the
course of human history. Tonight, Panorama joins the hunt for the
leader of what Kony calls his Lord's Resistance Army, and asks
why after 25 years of carnage, this notorious warlord is still at large.
I cannot tell you if it will be tomorrow, in a month, but
This is the frontline of the hunt for Joseph Kony. The jungle almost
the size of France. After a global campaign clamouring for the capture
of Kony this year, as an African journalist I want to know what is
being done on the ground to bring to justice the man who has
terrorised millions. I joined the Ugandan army unit hunting him in
the jungles of the Central African Republic. Uganda is being backed by
American special forces. But still Kony remains one step ahead. We are
doing whatever it takes to make sure that we capture or kill Kony.
Our last intelligence indicated that Joseph Kony is in the Central
African Republic. Kony might be anywhere because we do not have any
mechanism of tracking Kony himself. If Joseph Kony, the leader of the
Lord's Resistance Army, the LRA, had been 20 ft in front of me, I
would not have seen him. This is a real jungle. It is in the middle of
nowhere. Searching for anyone here, particularly a man who has mastered
the tactics of the bush, is like searching for a needle in a
haystack. Do you have any information whether the LRA are
around this area? Is that why you are going there? The LRA right now,
we do not know their position. Vicky Barr rotating in the general
area. One day we will come across the track. -- they keep rotating in
the general area. This camp was abandoned by the LRA just two weeks
earlier. This is the enemy defence. It was discovered after a rebel
defector led the Ugandans here. This was the headquarters. The
overall commander was clear. They avoid movement from their position.
That is why they can hide themselves here for more than a
month. It is estimated 50 to 60 of Kony's fighters lived here, plus
women and children. This child was one of them. Adam, said by his
mother to be Joseph Kony's five- year-old son. Abducted aged 13,
Doreen Abango escaped just 10 days earlier. TRANSLATION: I saw that I
was wasting my life so I took the opportunity to come back. I started
walking at night with my child, moving in such a way I did not
leave any tracks. A fire was found, I would be killed. -- if I was
found. Doreen told me she had not seen Kony for five years. She is
one of dozens of women that he is accused of raping. He takes women
in terms. Women go to him in terms. That is the nature of war. As women
we do not have the power to refuse. We are afraid and want to protect
The Ugandans believe that Joseph Kony is in the Central African
Republic, but the Lord's Resistance Army that he leads are thought to
be constantly on the move between here, Sudan in the North, and the
Democratic Republic of Congo, which continues to suffer at their hands.
Here, terrified families have sought centuries in refugee camps
since the LRA started attacking in 2008. I headed to the nearest camp.
300 miles South East of the Ugandan position. The first people started
coming in the month of March. people feel safe because delighted
macro and Congolese army are based nearby. -- because the UN and
Congolese army are based nearby. There are 10,000 people in camps.
The terror that the LRA cause in this region is totally
disproportionate to their numbers. The UN estimates there are only 100
fighters left, but they continue to evade capture. They did not attack
me but we ran because they killed people yes so we were afraid.
you think you can go back home? until the raiding and the war is
over. This is the worst thing that has ever happened to us and many of
our belongings have been destroyed. Today almost half a million people
remain displaced by the war. It is a fear creation tactic. People have
got that fear. They have that Psycho thing in them. That is why
TRANSLATION: The LRA kills. The LRA mutilates. The LRA mutilates. The
LRA burns villages and public buildings. These people have had
enough. We want Joseph Kony to leave this region. We want Joseph
Kony to be arrested and for us to Kony's war in this region started
only 300 miles away in Uganda in the late 1980s. Since then, the
scale of atrocities has been apocalyptic. An estimated 100,000
people have died in this conflict. At least 20,000 children have been
abducted, many forced to be child soldiers or sex slaves. What
exactly is Joseph Kony fighting for? Six years ago, after months of
negotiation, the film crew were led deep into the jungle to find out.
Surrounded by heavily armed fighters, this was to be the first
and last time Kony gave a television interview. I am a
freedom fighter who is fighting for freedom in Uganda. But I am not a
terrorist. Kony denied murdering civilians and abducting children.
found not guilty. I am not guilty. I am not guilty. And declaimed holy
spirits were guiding him in his mission to overthrow the Ugandan
Government. -- he claimed. Spirits will come to us. They come through
me and they talk to the people, what to do. But if I am also
fighting for the commandment of God, is that bad? It is not bad. I have
had to go to a crime profiler, actually Scotland Yard, to try to
understand this man that I have dealt with for a long time. Betty
Bigombe is one of a long line of African leaders who tried and
failed to talk Kony into making peace. His followers would say that
he is extremely kind. He is extremely generous. And yet he
would rape people, rip their tummy apart, or the killing in the most
brutal manner. Who is this man? And the analysis, the report that came
up, he is a psychopath. He has got a multiple personality disorder.
find out more about Joseph Kony, I came to the place where he was born,
Odek in northern Uganda. Here I found one of the last surviving
members of his family, Gabriela Lakot, his older sister. This is
the first time she had agreed to be interviewed. God has brought a
curse on this family. This is our mother's lament. Kony has brought
so much trouble on us, now everybody hates us. She was there
when Joseph Kony came into this world. When my mother was giving
birth, I came and supported her. As soon as Kony was born, he stood up
on his two feet. Everyone was astonished and wondrous, saying
this child is strange. This child is strange. When Kony reached his
teens, he started hearing voices in his head. It seems to me that he
had developed a mental problem. My father tried everything to help
Kony, but in vain. Even a cow was sacrificed, but in vain.
everyone in Odek believed that Kony was mentally ill. I found one of
his old school friends, later to become one of the warlord's
earliest disciples. The spirit had possessed Kony. That spirit, when
it's time came to speak, it entered Kony and completely transformed its
nature. These spirits would go on to haunt this region for decades.
By 1986, Kony was a young man and many in Northern and Gander were
rebelling against a new Government. -- northern Uganda. On this hill he
would claim to hear the voices of spirits which his followers
believed would predict the future. These voices would also later Mark
Kony out as a leader of insurgents. People saw the potential and the
possibility of a spirit that had possessed Kony helping them against
a danger of death that they thought was coming to them. I am amongst
the people that accepted. I am one of those. By the early 90s, the
rebellion was over, but the profit did not put down his gun. Instead
he turned it on his own people for abandoning the cause. Because of
Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army was born. -- the cult of Kony.
has been like a terrible fire. It has resulted in the last of many
young people. I see the wrong in it and the pain associated with it. We
A Ugandan Government camp created to protect local civilians from the
Mayor was affected. They failed. -- from the LRA was affected. 301
people were counted dead. Men, women and children. Slaughtered by
Kony's troops in February, 2004. This woman was ordered to kill her
husband. They asked me to cut his throat, but then a little child
soldier told them not to us than our old lady to kill her husband.
They took my husband and cut his throat while I watched. My child,
his son, was also killed. Her son I think Kony was very conscious of
what he was doing. I don't think the massacres that were committed
by the LRA, they were the acts of individuals who are indisciplined
but I think that they all came directly from his orders and I
think he knew very well what he was ordering. Carlos Rodriguez was a
priest at the time based the at the heart of where Kony was carrying
out his massacres he listened in ands -- as the LRA
leader talked on the radio to his troops. Sometimes he was very
explicit in ordering massacres, laughing like a sadistic killer,
saying, as he was laughing, that's very good, continue, you should
kill even more, you should kill even elderly people, even children.
Don't leave anybody alive. Industrial-scale killing, but Kony
inflicted brutality on the living, too.
Godfrey Okello - abducted aged ten. Ojok Patrick - abducted aged 14.
Oriem Michael - abducted aged ten. Kony said it was war. If he sends
you to fight, you have to fight. Much of the killing was carried out
by child soldiers. Thousands and thousands of children were abducted
by the LRA. Kony teaches, saying that all
civilians have been trained. They have arrows to use on us. Civilians
also use knives and all sorts of things to injure us, therefore, if
we come across any civilians we mustn't allow them to survive
because they are bad people. While young boys were forced to
become killers, Kony also had plans for young girls.
This was the dormitory where I was that night. Grace Acan was just 15
years old when she was abducted along with 30 other schoolgirls
from St Mary's convent, northern Ugandan in 1996. I thought that
would be the end of my life because I have heard a lot about LRA.
They're risky, they're dangerous, they can kill and when they get you
that will be the end of you. girls were marched for two weeks
north through the bush to an LRA camp in southern Sudan. There,
Grace discovered her fate for the next eight years. The moment you
begin your menstrual period, that's all. They will say now you are
ready for a man. That's what they will do. It doesn't matter how old
you are? It Doesn't matter. That's what they would do. Grace was
forced to become a sex slave. She was repeatedly raped by this man,
one of Kony's most senior commanders.
These days, it's not hard to find Kenneth Banya, he lives just down
the road from Grace. What I don't understand, why did
Kony specifically give these girls to be raped by the older guys, the
commanders, why? He was doing that because he wanted to maintain
people in the bush, do you understand? He wanted to keep
people in the bush, so that you don't think of other things.
how do you think it is for youngsters like Grace who have gone
through this without their permission? It is not only Grace
alone, there are so many who are like Grace. I kept on thinking that
now, how can I be given to such a man? It wasn't my choice. He was
basically forcing you every week? If you say no, they beat you.
that happen to you? I didn't want to be beaten with a panga because I
saw with my eyes what it is to be beaten with a machete.
Grace gave birth to two children, a son and a daughter, both fathered
by Banya. Then, in July 2004, eight years
after she was abducted, the Ugandan Army attacked the LRA camp where
she was being held. The first bomb landed on my son, who was being
carried by another girl, so they both died. I didn't see, but I was
told. I didn't have a chance to see where his body was.
Grace escaped with her daughter, Mercy, who is now nine years old.
Her mother wants to put the past behind them. But is that possible?
I wanted to know if the man who raped Grace showed any remorse.
Why did you systematically rape a child like her, who was 15 years,
over and over and over for years? Why did you do that? I did not rape
Grace. In LRA, you are given by force, and the woman also she is
forced. But Kenneth, if that was your child, 15 years old, somebody
does that to her, how would you feel? I had no choice. No, you had
a choice. I would be killed. It was a matter of either you die, or you
agree and you live. Banya was captured in 2004 by the
you goen Army. Despite his crimes, he was given an amnesty, and is now
a free man. How many girls did you rape in the bush? I did not, only
Grace and the other two. Only Grace and the other two. Yeah. Are you
proud of yourself for what you did to those girls? I am not proud
because if I was proud I would be talking proudly. I am only
disappointed with my life. Kenneth Banya, have you forgiven
him, will you forgive him? That is a very hard question. You know,
forgiveness comes from the heart. I feel as if something has been taken
out of me. Something valuable has been taken out of me.
Back in the jungles of the central African Republic, the hunt for
Joseph Kony continues. The noose seems to be tightening. A military
offensive led by the Ugandan Army four years ago scattered his forces
across the region. Now it's estimated there are only 450LRA
fighters left. In May this year, just 60 miles
from where we are, the Ugandans captured a senior LRA commander.
This is his first television interview.
The long length of time Kony and his people, including myself, has
spent in the bush, and the hardship and experience we have gone through,
is what has given Kony the knowledge and skills to survive in
the bush up until now. For almost 20 years, Achellam, seen
here, was one of Kony's right-hand men. Since his capture, he has
given the Ugandans vital intelligence about LRA movements.
Achellam is now calling for an end to the fighting. Many of my
colleagues are still in the bush and they should come out. They must
come out and there should be no more fighting. If Kony doesn't come
out, let him remain alone in the bush.
So why has Joseph Kony been allowed to wage this war for so long?
The Ugandans are now spearheading the fight to capture him, but for
many years one of the biggest obstacles to defeating Kony came
from within their own army. Corruption on a massive scale.
People were starting to profit from the war, so it became actually a
business. Therefore, I think people had less interest in ending it. And
that, I think, proved a very serious problem.
Most shocking was the discovery that around half the army only
existed on paper. The scandal became known as ghost soldiers. For
years, officers had inflated troop numbers to pocket wages and profit
from selling supplies destined for fictitious soldiers.
This secret Government report from 2003 reveals a plague, every single
Ugandan army unit was involved. So it was a huge, huge problem. How
far up it went I really can't say. From what you are telling me it's
clear that Kony has been a convenient enemy at the expense of
the lives of ordinary people? without doubt. Without doubt.
you think that corruption helped to drag this war to where it is today?
Oh, yeah, it contributed. It contributed to prolonging the war.
Despite past corruption, the you goen Army of today, backed by
American Special Forces, is widely believed to be the most effective
offensive force to end this war. But what about other African Armies
hunting the LRA? Any other force, other than the
Ugandan Army, the LRA doesn't fear. They only fear the Ugandan Army.
Feared they may be, but the fractious politics of the region
bars them from operating in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of
Congo. And, according to the President, Yoweri Museveni, Uganda
can't be expected to continue hunting Kony alone. Can you finish
this war without western support? Where we are now is an
international mission. It is not a domestic mission. We cannot be in
an international mission on domestic resources. Why? It's up to
the international community to help. An African Union Force of 5,000
troops which could hunt for the LRA across the whole region was due to
begin operations in March, but it hasn't happened. International
funding has yet to materialise. Fransisco Madeira is the man asking
for the money. You might call me a beggar, call me
whatever you want, but the truth of the matter is that the resources
are on one side, and the will is on the other and work has to be done.
If a true co-operation were to take place among countries involved in
this crisis, it would probably take a week to arrest Joseph Kony and to
put an end to his abuses. I can Tellez you whether it's going
to be tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or a month's time but
eventually the man is going to go down. Will Joseph Kony ever
surrender to face his accusers in the International Criminal Court?
Kony is afraid. He is really afraid. He is afraid of the accusation
against him in the Hague. Maybe the end has already been written.
would tell me things like, you know, I know exactly how I am going to
die. I am going to die like Hitler. One day people will wake up and
they will find out I have been dead for sometime. Is it too much to
hope that Kony's war may finally be drawing to an end? There is a
Somewhere in the vast, dense jungles of central Africa, is hidden Joseph Kony, one of the world's most wanted men. For the past 25 years, Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army have waged one of the continent's darkest conflicts; using an army of abducted and brutalised children to kill and maim tens of thousands of people. But how has one man, said to take his orders from the spirit world, managed to escape capture for so long? In the wake of the infamous 'Kony 2012' internet campaign to bring him to justice this year, Bafta-winning reporter, Sorious Samura, investigates the myths surrounding Kony and travels to the front line of the fight to bring one of Africa's most bizarre and brutal leaders to justice.