The hunt for Joseph Kony is for Africa what the hunt for Osama Bin Laden was for America, according to an African defence tycoon.
Ivor Ichikowitz, founder of defence innovation firm Paramount Group, has said that troops from Africa must capture Kony, who stands accused of countless atrocities, to show the world that the country is capable of sorting out its own problems.
He said: “The hunt for Joseph Kony will define the international standing of the African Union peacekeepers.
“In the same way that the hunt for Osama bin Laden shaped the world view of two US administrations, for better or worse, that same judgement is likely to be applied to the hunt for a man who has evaded justice for seven years.”
Vital: Ichikowitz says that African forces must find Kony
Kony is the reviled and feared leader of the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army, which wants to overthrow the government.
Kony claims to believe in ruling by the Ten Commandments, but it has resorted to terrible acts of violence in a bid to gain power, including sawing the lips off villagers.
To add numbers to its ranks thousands of children have been kidnapped and forced to become soldiers for Kony’s cause.
Efforts to catch him have so far been in vain, despite a globally viewed wanted poster appearing in the form of a YouTube video called Invisible Children Kony 2012.
A staggering 50 million people watched the documentary.
For the past two months 5,000 AU troops, with surveillance assistance from a 100-strong U.S special forces outfit, have been hunting Kony,
It’s crucial they succeed, stressed Ichikowitz.
He said: “Lose him and Africa risks the humiliation of needing others to mop up after us yet again.
“It is a test that the African Union cannot afford to fail.”
However, he added that “steady progress is being made towards the goal of peace in Africa being overseen by Africans, not external powers”.
Ichikowitz was moved to comment on the hunt for Kony as today is the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers – and next year is the 10th anniversary of the first military intervention by African Union peacekeeping troops.