July–September 1961 (age 51) 
|Known for||Leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight||180 pounds (82 kg)|
|Religion||Holy Spirit Movement|
|Spouse(s)||Thought to have 88 wives as of 2007|
|Children||Thought to have 42 children as of 2006|
Joseph Kony (pronounced IPA: [koɲ]; born sometime between July and September 1961) is the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a guerrilla group which used to operate in Uganda. While initially purporting to fight against government suppression, the LRA allegedly turned against Kony's own supporters, supposedly to "purify" the Acholi people and turn Uganda into a theocracy. Kony proclaims himself the spokesperson of God and a spirit medium, and has been considered by some as a cult of personality, and claims he is visited by a multinational host of 13 spirits, including a Chinese phantom. Ideologically, the group is a syncretic mix of mysticism, Acholi nationalism, Islam, and Christian fundamentalism, and claims to be establishing a theocratic state based on the Ten Commandments and local Acholi tradition. 
Kony has been accused by government entities of ordering the abduction of children to become sex slaves and child soldiers. An estimated 66,000 children became soldiers. And from 1986 up until about 2009, there were at least 2 million people internally displaced.
Kony was indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, in 2005 but has evaded capture. Kony has been subject to an Interpol Red Notice at the request of the ICC since 2006. Since the Juba peace talks in 2006, the LRA no longer operate in Uganda. Sources claim that they are in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or Central African Republic or South Sudan. In 2013 Kony was reported to be in poor health and Michel Djotodia, president of the Central African Republic, claimed he was negotiating with Kony to surrender.
Kony was born in 1961 in Odek, a village east of Gulu in northern Uganda, to farmers Luizi and Nora Obol. He is a member of the Acholi people. Kony enjoyed a good relationship with his siblings, but was quick to retaliate in a dispute and when confronted he would often resort to physical violence. His father was a lay catechist of the Catholic Church and his mother was an Anglican. His older sister, Gabriela Lakot, still lives in Odek.
Kony first came to prominence in the 1990s in Acholiland after the Holy Spirit Movement of Alice Auma (also known as Lakwena and to whom Kony is thought to be related). The overthrow of Acholi President Tito Okello by Yoweri Museveni and his National Resistance Army (NRA) during the Ugandan Bush War (1981–1986), had culmunated into mass looting of livestock, rapes, burning of homes, genocide, murder by the Museveni's army.
The atrocities committed by the Museveni's National Resistance Army now known as Uganda People's Defence Force led to the creation of LRA or Joseph Kony. The insurgencies also gave rise to concentration camps in Northern Uganda where at least over 2 million people lived. The government burned people's properties using helicopter gunships killing many of them. There were forceful displacements in the northern region. However, international campaigns called for all camps to be dismantled, and for the people to return to their former villages. In 2006 in the course of Juba peace talks with the LRA rebels, the Museveni's government gave permission for the local people to return to their villages. This marked the beginning of rehabilitation of homes, roads and so on.
Lord's Resistance Army
Kony has been implicated in abduction and recruitment of child soldiers. While there is no doubt that Kony recruited children, the government of Uganda has equally been accused of abducting and recruiting children into the army. In June 2006, the UN's representative found more than 5000 children in the Ugandan army.
From 1990s to 2006, the LRA have had battle confrontations with the government's National Resistance Army or UPDF within Uganda and in South Sudan. However, in 2008 the Ugandan army invaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo in search for the LRA in Operation Lightning Thunder.
On 6 October 2005, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that arrest warrants had been issued for five members of the Lord's Resistance Army for crimes against humanity following a sealed indictment. On the next day Ugandan defense minister Amama Mbabazi revealed that the warrants include Kony, his deputy Vincent Otti, and LRA commanders Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen. According to spokesmen for the military, the Ugandan army killed Lukwiya on 12 August 2006. The BBC received information that Otti had been killed on 2 October 2007, at Kony's home.
In November 2006, Kony met Jan Egeland, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. Journeyman Pictures released a 2006 interview with Kony in which he proclaims, "I am a freedom fighter not a terrorist." He told Reuters: "We don't have any children. We only have combatants."
Kony was thought among followers and detractors alike to have been possessed by spirits; he has been portrayed as an elusive leader. Kony believes in the literal protection provided by a cross symbol and tells his child soldiers a cross on their chest drawn in oil will protect them from bullets. He also believes in polygamy. He is thought of have had many wives some getting killed during the insurgency; and there are claims that he has 42 children. Kony insists that he and the Lord's Resistance Army are fighting for the Ten Commandments. He defends his actions: "Is it bad? It is not against human rights. And that commandment was not given by Joseph. It was not given by LRA. No, those commandments were given by God."
Betty Bigombe remembered that the first time she met Kony, his followers used oil to ward off bullets and evil spirits. In a letter regarding future talks, Kony stated that he must consult his self-styled holy spirit. When the talks did occur, they insisted on the participation of religious leaders and opened the proceedings with prayers, led by LRA's Director of Religious Affairs Jenaro Bongomi. During the 1994 peace talks, Kony was preceded by men in robes sprinkling holy water. According to Francis Ongom, a former LRA officer who defected, Kony "has found Bible justifications for killing witches, for killing [those who farm or eat] pigs because of the story of the Gadarene swine, and for killing [other] people because God did the same with Noah's flood and Sodom and Gomorrah."
Action against Kony
The Ugandan military has attempted to kill Kony throughout the insurgency. In Uganda's attempt to track Kony down, former LRA combatants have been enlisted to search remote areas of the Central African Republic, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo where he was last seen.
After the September 11 attacks, the United States declared the Lord's Resistance Army a terrorist group. On 28 August 2008, the United States Treasury Department placed Kony on its list of "Specially Designated Global Terrorists", a designation that carries financial and other penalties.
In November 2008, U.S. President George W. Bush personally signed the directive to the United States Africa Command to provide financial and logistical assistance to the Ugandan government during the unsuccessful 2008–2009 Garamba offensive, code-named Operation Lightning Thunder. No U.S. troops were directly involved, but 17 U.S. advisers and analysts provided intelligence, equipment, and fuel to Ugandan military counterparts. The offensive pushed Kony from his jungle camp, but he was not captured. One hundred children were rescued.
In May 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law the Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, legislation aimed at stopping Kony and the LRA. The bill passed unanimously in the United States Senate on 11 March. On 12 May 2010, a motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill was agreed to by voice vote (two-thirds being in the affirmative) in the House of Representatives. In November 2010, President Obama delivered a strategy document to Congress, asking for more funding to disarm Kony and the LRA. In October 2011, President Obama authorized the deployment of approximately 100 combat-equipped U.S. troops to central Africa. Their goal is to help regional forces remove Kony and senior LRA leaders from the battlefield. "Although the U.S. forces are combat-equipped, they will only be providing information, advice, and assistance to partner nation forces, and they will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense," President Obama said in a letter to Congress.
On 23 March 2012 the African Union announced its intentions to "send 5,000 soldiers to join the hunt for rebel leader Joseph Kony" and to "neutralize" him while isolating the scattered LRA groups responsible for 2,600 civilian killings since 2008. This international task force was stated to include soldiers "from Uganda, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Congo, countries where Kony’s reign of terror has been felt over the years." Prior this announcement, the hunt for Kony has primarily been carried out by troops from Uganda. The soldiers will begin their search in South Sudan on 24 March 2012 and that the search "will last until Kony is caught".
Kony received a surge of attention in early March 2012 when a 30-minute documentary titled Kony 2012 by film maker Jason Russell for the campaign group Invisible Children Inc was released. The intention of the production is to draw attention to Kony in an effort to increase United States involvement in the issue and have Kony arrested by the end of 2012, A poll suggested that more than half of young adult Americans heard about Kony 2012 in the days following the video's release.
- International Criminal Court investigations
- Lord's Resistance Army insurgency
- The World's 10 Most Wanted
- Craine, Anthony. "Joseph Kony". Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- Howden, Daniel (8 November 2008). "The deadly cult of Joseph Kony". The Independent. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- "Joseph Kony". Nndb.com. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
- "Wanted Persons - Kony, Joseph". Interpol. 2006. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- Green, Matthew (2008). The Wizard of the Nile: The Hunt for Africa's Most Wanted. Portobello Books. p. 136. ISBN 978-1-84627-031-4.
- Beatrice Debut Gulu (10 February 2006). "Portrait of Uganda's rebel prophet, painted by wives". Mail & Guardian Online. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- Jardin, Xeni (March 8, 2012). "African voices respond to hyper-popular Kony 2012 viral campaign". Boing Boing. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- The Scars of Death: Children Abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda. Human Rights Watch. September 1997. pp. 32, 72. ISBN 1564322211. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
- Ruddy Doom and Koen Vlassenroot (1999). Kony's message: A new Koine? The Lord's Resistance Army in northern Uganda 98 (390). Oxford Journals / Royal African Society. pp. 5–36.
- Drogin, Bob (April 1, 1996). "Christian Cult Killing, Ravaging In New Uganda". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
- Ten Commandments of God: Mass Suicide in Uganda
- Lamb, Christina (2 March 2008). "The Wizard of the Nile: The Hunt for Africa's Most Wanted by Matthew Green". The Times. Retrieved 2 March 2008. (subscription required (. ))
- McKinley Jr., James C. (March 5, 1997). "Christian Rebels Wage a War of Terror in Uganda". The New York Times. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
- McGreal, Chris (13 March 2008). "Museveni refuses to hand over rebel leaders to war crimes court". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- Boustany, Nora (March 19, 2008). "Ugandan Rebel Reaches Out to International Court". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
- Haynes, Jeffrey (2002). Politics in the developing world. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 121. ISBN 9780631225560.
- McLaughlin, Abraham (31 December 2004). "The End of Uganda's Mystic Rebel?". Christian Science Monitor. Global Policy Forum. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
- Muth, Rachel (8 May 2008). "Child Soldiers in the Lord’s Resistance Army: Factors in the Rehabilitation and Reintegration Process". George Mason University: 23. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
- Martin, Gus (2006). Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues. SAGE. pp. 196–197. ISBN 978-1-4129-2722-2.
• "Interview with Vincent Otti, LRA second in command" and " A leadership based on claims of divine revelations" in IRIN In Depth, June 2007
- "Warrant of Arrest unsealed against five LRA Commanders" (Press release). International Criminal Court. 14 October 2005. Retrieved June 2, 2009.
- "Read The Bill: H.R. 2478". GovTrack.us. 19 May 2009. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- "Ugandan army 'kills senior rebel'". BBC News. 13 August 2006. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- "Four African nations crack down on LRA". BBC News. 16 October 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- Mark, Monica (21 November 2013). "Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony 'in talks' with Central African Republic". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- "Profile: Joseph Kony". BBC News. 7 October 2005. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- Green, Matthew (2008). The Wizard of the Nile: The Hunt for Africa's Most Wanted. Portobello Books. p. 215. ISBN 978-1-84627-031-4.
- Green, Matthew (2008). The Wizard of the Nile: The Hunt for Africa's Most Wanted. Portobello Books. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-84627-031-4.
- Jimmie Briggs (2005). Innocents Lost: When Child soldiers Go to war. pp. 105–144.
- Samura, Sorious (20 August 2012). "Joseph Kony’s sister tells of family’s ‘curse’". Panorama (BBC). Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- "What is the present government attitude and treatment of members of Acholi tribe". Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- "Uganda, need to focus on returnees and remaining IDPs". Retrieved 17 April 2013.
- "Uganda, Interview with Radhika Coomaraswamy". Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- Zibwa, Mutai (2 March 2012). "UPDF in Kony hunt accused of rape, looting". The Observer. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
- "Otti 'executed by Uganda rebels'". BBC News. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
- "UN envoy sees Uganda rebel chief". BBC News. 12 November 2006. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- Joseph Kony's defiant interview: the only ever interview with Kony on YouTube
- "[AlertNet]". (subscription required)
- Farmar, Sam (June 28, 2006). "I will use the Ten Commandments to liberate Uganda". The Times. Retrieved December 8, 2013. (subscription required (. ))
- Boustany, Nora (11 July 2007). "The Woman Behind Uganda's Peace Hopes". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
- Hitchens, Christopher (January 2006). "Childhood's End". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- Gettleman, Jeffrey (April 10, 2010). "Uganda Enlists Former Rebels to End a War". The New York Times. Retrieved July, 11 2011.
- Philip T. Reeker (6 December 2001). "Statement on the Designation of 39 Organizations on the USA PATRIOT Act's Terrorist Exclusion List". U.S. Department of State.
- Capaccio, Tony (14 October 2011). "Obama Sends Troops Against Uganda Rebels". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
- Gettleman, Jeffrey; Schmitt, Eric (6 February 2009). "U.S. Aided a Failed Plan to Rout Ugandan Rebels". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
- "LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009". Resolve Uganda. 24 May 2010.
- 2010 Congressional Record, Page H3416.
- Kavanagh, Michael J. (25 November 2010). "Obama Administration Asks for Funds to Boost Uganda's Fight Against Rebels". Bloomberg. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
- Gerson, Michael (26 January 2011). "Joseph Kony and the international effort to bring him to justice". The Washington Post. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
- Jackson, David (October 14, 2011). "Obama dispatches 100 troops to Africa". USA Today. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
- Tapper, Jake (October 14, 2011). "Obama Sends 100 US Troops to Uganda to Help Combat Lord’s Resistance Army". ABC News. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
- Levy, Gabrielle (April 3, 2013). "$5 million bounty offered for Joseph Kony". UPI. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
- "Wanted: Joseph Kony". Office of Global Criminal Justice. United States Department of State. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- "Wanted: Dominic Ongwen". Office of Global Criminal Justice. United States Department of State. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- "Wanted: Okot Odhiambo". Office of Global Criminal Justice. United States Department of State. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- Muhumuza, Rodney (March 23, 2012). "Kony 2012: African Union ramps up hunt for Uganda rebel leader in wake of viral video". Toronto Star. Associated Press. Retrieved March, 23 2012.
- Ngak, Chenda (March 8, 2012). "Invisible Children's "Kony 2012" viral video stirs emotion and controversy". CBS News. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
- Myers, Julia (March 7, 2012). "A call for justice". The Kentucky Kernel. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
- Kanczula, Antonia (20 April 2012). "Kony 2012 in numbers". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
- Curtis, Polly; McCarthy, Tom (20 April 2012). "Kony 2012: what happens next?". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April, 2012.
- Green, Matthew (2008). The Wizard of the Nile: The Hunt for Africa's Most Wanted. Portobello Books. ISBN 978-1-84627-030-7.
- Briggs, Jimmie (2005). The Innocents Lost: When Child soldiers Go to War. Basic Books.
- Bussman, Jane (2009). The Worst Date Ever: War Crimes, Hollywood Heart-Throbs and Other Abominations. Macmillan. ISBN 0-230-73712-9.