Capturing Kony: Lessons from the Bin Laden Raid

It was celebrated as a decisive victory in the war on terror – the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the man behind the 9/11 attacks on America.


Osama bin Laden: no longer a threat

The circumstances were extraordinary.

He had been found in a compound far inside Pakistan, a supposed ally of the U.S, not more than minutes away from a major Pakistani Army facility.

A team of American Navy SEALs crossed the border from Afghanistan in stealth helicopters, undetected until well after they had taken out their target and made good their escape.

If they can do this in Pakistan, how hard could it be to do the same to take out an African warlord in a country that would welcome such an intervention?

It could even be argued that America has committed itself to capturing or killing Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, to a further extent than they had with bin Laden.

It should not be forgotten that President Obama signed that goal into law.

Ask a Black Bloke

So what lessons can be learned from the bin Laden raid to help with capturing Kony?

The most important must be the impact of having people on the ground, actively searching.

Bin Laden’s compound, it is understood, was watched by CIA agents for months before the raid.

Yet little or no effort seems to have been made by American forces to locate Kony.

British comedian and activist Jane Bussman, after a trip to the LRA affected region, has expressed her surprise at how little has been done.

When she asked the UK Foreign Office if they knew where Kony was, they had no idea.

Yet local people did, and no-one had asked them.

Bussman knows this is critical.

In an interview with CNN, she calls it the “ask a black bloke” strategy.

Pretty simple really.

A new campaign involving the non-profit Invisible Children could help with this.

They are raising funds to build radio towers in the affected area, so that communities can warn others of an LRA attack and share intelligence on where the group actually is.



Another piece of technology that was probably used in the hunt for bin Laden was the unmanned aerial vehicle known as the Reaper.

The CIA have used these to kill militants inside Pakistan, and they’re now being deployed by the U.S to bases in Africa.

They’ve mainly be used to strike targets in Somalia and Yemen, but could be a good option in the skies over the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the LRA are hiding.

For example, if an LRA attack was reported (perhaps through the radio towers) a Reaper drone could be used to follow the rebels back to their base, potentially where Kony could be hiding.

Special forces could then be used for a similar operation as the one that killed bin Laden.

Simple, Right?

While this seems like an easy solution, it, as ever, comes down to question of will.

Perhaps now that the U.S. have taken down public enemy number one, they’ll have the focus to remove a man who still terrorizes a huge swathe of the African continent.


Posted on September 24, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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