Africa

Joseph Kony: US military planes to hunt LRA leader

  • 24 March 2014
  • From the section Africa
File picture of Joseph Kony from 2006 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Joseph Kony is wanted on war crimes charges

The US has announced it is sending military aircraft and more special forces to look for Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony.

At least four CV-22 Ospreys and refuelling planes, as well as 150 Air Force special forces personnel will arrive in Uganda this week, they say.

Mr Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges.

The US first deployed some 100 special forces in 2011 to help thousands of African troops track him down.

His Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels are notorious for abducting children and forcing the boys to become fighters and keeping the girls as sex slaves.

Boys are forced to kill their own parents, so they think they cannot return home.

The group first emerged in Uganda in the 1980s but its fighters now roam between Central African Republic, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said the lack of aircraft had been identified by the African countries leading the hunt for Mr Kony as one of their major obstacles to finding him and the other LRA leaders "across a wide swath of one of the world's poorest, least governed and most remote regions".

The US forces would be based in Uganda but would be used in other countries where the LRA was present, she said.

The African Union-led forces would remain in charge of the operation, with the US retaining an advisory role.

CV-22 Ospreys can land and take off vertically like a helicopter but fly like a plane so they can travel further and faster than helicopters.

The US has offered up to $5m (£3.3m) for leads resulting in his arrest.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The LRA is accused of forcing young boys to become fighters

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