WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) sent a letter Tuesday to President Obama urging the United States to remain engaged with local African governments to help defeat Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and to stabilize the region.
In addition to Inhofe and Landrieu, the bipartisan letter was signed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Dianne Feinstein (D- Calif.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).
The Senators wrote in the letter, “As you know, LRA leader Joseph Kony is a U.S. designated global terrorist and wanted war criminal, most recently indicated by the U.S. Department of State’s issuance of a reward for information leading to his arrest, transfer, or conviction under the Department’s Rewards for Justice Program. Kony and the LRA have spread terror and lawlessness in the areas where they operate, creating conditions that could enable the spread of other extremist and terrorist organizations that are expanding operations throughout the African continent. The LRA has terrorized civilians for nearly three decades, accounting for the deaths of at least 100,000 people and the displacement of more than 400,000. Thousands of children have been abducted and then either killed, turned into ‘Child Soldiers,’ forced to serve as sex slaves or mutilated by having their limbs, noses, lips and ears cut off.
The Senators continued, “The U.S. must stay committed to the mission or risk reversing hard-won gains, and so we respectfully request that the White House reiterate its support for ongoing missions to eradicate the LRA in Africa.”
“Recent U.S. involvement has led to the capture of two senior LRA commanders and the defection of nearly 15 percent of LRA’s soldiers,” said Inhofe.“ It is imperative that the U.S. remains engaged in this effort to put an end to the terrorism Kony has caused throughout the continent. From my many travels to Africa, I have seen firsthand the devastation and unrest caused by Kony and the LRA. I applaud the work Invisible Children has done to open the world’s eyes to this humanitarian crisis, and together, with continued U.S. leadership, we can bring an end to this era and restore stability to Central Africa.”
The full text of the letter can be found below or by clicking here.