Factbox: Hunted Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony

KAMPALA (Reuters) – A video about Uganda’s reclusive rebel leader Joseph Kony and the atrocities his Lord’s Resistance Army has committed over more than 20 years has become a top trend on the social media site Twitter.

Here are some facts about Kony and his rebel group, which is being hunted in the dense forests of central Africa by Ugandan and U.S. troops.

* Self-proclaimed mystic Joseph Kony was indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity in 2005.

* In May 2006, the top U.S. diplomat in Africa said the administration of then-President George W. Bush wanted to get rid of the LRA rebels by the end of the year.

* The LRA emerged in the late 1980s in northern Uganda as a successor to the Holy Spirit Movement, a rebel group led by Kony’s aunt Alice Lakwena, that was defeated by Ugandan forces.

* When Kony launched his war against the government of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, he said he wanted to fight for the rights of the Acholi, a marginalized northern tribe.

* When his people did not back his campaign, Kony fled to south Sudan with a plan to obliterate the “treacherous” Acholi.

* Kony, who served as an altar boy in his village, claims to talk to angels and has said he wanted to rule Uganda according to the biblical Ten Commandments.

* The LRA became notorious for abducting children for use as soldiers, sex slaves and porters. An LRA hallmark is slicing off lips and ears of “collaborators” to punish and mark them out.

* In a rare interview with a bodyguard published by a Sudanese magazine, Kony described himself as a lord and a liberator, even though he came from a typically impoverished rural family in Odek in Uganda’s north.

* “Dreams of the spirit came to me one night and asked me to launch a Lord’s resistance movement,” Kony said. “I spent 60 days praying and appealing to God to strengthen my faith so I could liberate the people of Uganda from corruption, sins and immoral thinking.”

* Many of Kony’s thousands of abductees were forced to kill children who tried to escape, or murder their own relatives, fostering a sense of complicity that guarantees subservience.

* Under Kony’s instruction, child soldiers and their commanders – many barely in their teens – carried out the most violent attacks on unarmed villagers.

* More than 300 civilians were shot, hacked and burned to death in February 2004 in one LRA raid on a camp for some of more than 1.6 million people uprooted by the war.

* Preaching a mix of Christian beliefs and traditional African religion, he initially attracted a wide following. But he failed to win lasting support, and under pressure from the Ugandan army and local resistance he was forced from Uganda.

* The rebel chief, who has worn his hair in dreadlocks or braids and sometimes dressed in women’s clothes, according to former fighters, is a powerful speaker who instills fear.

* Several attempts to capture Kony by U.N. and Ugandan forces over the past few years have failed.

* President Barack Obama sent 100 U.S. military advisers to central Africa last year to help Ugandan forces in the hunt for Kony.

* Kony and his rump force are somewhere in central Africa, most likely in Democratic Republic of Congo, or perhaps the Central African Republic.

* There have been no reported LRA attacks in the Central African Republic or South Sudan since January 18, but there have been at least 12 raids in northeastern Congo in the first two weeks of February in areas where LRA groups have attacked during the last three years.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham in Washington)

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