In the midst of yesterday’s news involving ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez’s suicide and with it dominating and overshadowing other news stories, there was also some unfortunate news that you probably didn’t hear about, from half a globe away involving perhaps the most wanted man on the continent. Uganda has called off its search for Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, effectively bringing one of the most famous manhunts in history to close, not with a bang but with a whimper.
Kony remains at large. Whether or not he’s alive, remains to be a mystery, but Ugandan officials nevertheless declared that the mission “has now been successfully achieved.”
This news comes a month after the U.S. officially pulled out of the hunt, leaving Uganda itself as the last remaining country actively invested in finding Kony. The U.S. declared that the membership count of Kony’s infamous “Lord’s Resistance Army” had plummeted to less than 100, leaving Kony’s capture a low priority.
Kony’s infamy truly began in 2012, when Invisible Children launched their now-legendary campaign to “Make Kony Famous.” That remains one of the most successful viral feats in internet history, and changed how the world thought about what social media could be. It can undoubtedly be credited with raising global awareness of Kony’s crimes against humanity and monstrous treatment of children, but its goal of bringing Kony to justice remained elusive.
Not everyone is happy with the end of the manhunt. Last month, the African Union told the United Nations that Kony “will likely ramp up attacks if Uganda fully backs off” the search. “Uganda should join [the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic] with international support to continue pursuing the LRA and save thousands of lives,” said Sasha Lezhnev of The Enough Project, which keeps tabs on the LRA.
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