The Bush administration on Thursday slapped new sanctions on the leader of Uganda's notorious Lord's Resistance Army rebel group as patience wears thin with the slow pace of peace talks with the African nation's government.
In a brief statement, the Treasury Department added LRA chief Joseph Kony to its list of "specially designated global terrorists," a designation that carries financial and other penalties. It could not be determined if Kony, whose whereabouts in the jungles of eastern Congo are unclear, has any assets that might be affected by the order.
The Lord's Resistance Army was already considered a terrorist group by the U.S., but there had been no sanctions applied to Kony, a self-proclaimed prophet and mystic who has led a brutal 21-year insurgency in northern Uganda.
His rebels have become infamous for raping children and using them as soldiers. Kony and several top aides have been indicted on war crimes and other charges by the International Criminal Court.
For the past two years, the LRA and the Ugandan government have been engaged in halting peace talks but the negotiations have suffered numerous breakdowns. Kony, fearing arrest, has been in hiding since 2006. He refused to appear at an April ceremony at which a peace deal was to have been signed.
As part of that deal, the Ugandan government was to have asked the International Criminal Court to withdraw indictments against Kony and his colleagues. But the rebels say they want more assurances of their safety before signing the deal.