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US expands effort targeting fugitives

In this Nov. 12, 2006 photo, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, answered journalists' questions following a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland at Ri-Kwangba in southern Sudan.

Stuart Price, Pool/AP

In this Nov. 12, 2006 photo, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, answered journalists' questions following a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland at Ri-Kwangba in southern Sudan.

WASHINGTON — Congress has approved legislation that would expand the State Department’s rewards for a program to target the world’s most serious human rights abusers, with African warlord Joseph Kony a top target.

The House passed the bill by voice vote Tuesday night and sent it to President Obama for his signature. The State Department strongly backed the legislation.

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‘‘This bill responds to the need to develop more tools to pursue the world’s worst,’’ said Representative Ed Royce of California, sponsor of the legislation and the next chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The program, established in 1984, gives the secretary of state the authority to offer a reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of anyone who plans, commits, or attempts international terrorist acts.

The amount of the reward would be at the secretary’s discretion.

Kony and his ruthless guerrilla group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, are responsible for a nearly three-decade campaign of terror in Central Africa that has been marked by child abductions and widespread killings.

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