KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — The hunt for the African warlord Joseph Kony is hopeless without more troops, an advocacy group said Friday, urging American forces to "play a more operational role" in the vast Central Africa jungle.
A year after President Barack Obama sent 100 U.S. Special Forces to help regional governments eliminate Kony, the U.S.-based Enough Project said the military mission is "unsustainable " because African troops face multiple challenges that limit their ability to locate the rebels.
The American troops play only an advisory role and are not involved in combat operations against the rebels. Uganda leads about 2,500 African Union troops in the hunt for Kony, whose LRA rebels are accused of mass murder and of recruiting children to become soldiers or sex slaves.
"The Ugandan soldiers on the ground in central Africa remain behind in their chase for the LRA rebels, who continuously manage to escape and hide from the trekking teams because of their fast pace and ability to live off the land," the report says. "Despite U.S.-provided air mobility, the difficult operating environment forces the Ugandan forces to spend unnecessary resources on logistics and transport, rather than on operations aimed at the rebels."
Daniel Travis, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Kampala, said the U.S. has spent $30 million every year since 2008 on the LRA mission, including on supplies such as fuel for helicopters. He said the Ugandans are best placed to lead the hunt for Kony.
"They are the experts," he said of Ugandan troops. "They are the ones who have been chasing Kony for a long time."
Ugandan army spokesman Col. Felix Kulayigye said only Uganda and South Sudan have contributed soldiers toward a proposed force of 5,000 African Union troops. Congo and the Central African Republic have not yet contributed foot soldiers, he said. He disagreed with the recommendation that the U.S. become more involved.
"I am not against it, but this is not a war for the Americans," Kulayigye said. "It's not feasible."
Kony, whose rebellion originated in Uganda before spreading to other parts of Central Africa, was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2005 for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The LRA, which used to have several thousand men, is now seriously degraded and scattered in small numbers in Congo, South Sudan, and the central African Republic. Only about 200 LRA rebels are still active in the jungle, according to the Ugandan military, but they can conduct hit-and-run operations that terrorize villagers and move across the region's porous borders in small groups that are hard to detect in dense jungle.
The Ugandan forces sometimes go without food for several days, the report says. Kulayigye acknowledged that the troops lack food when bad weather makes it impossible for helicopters to carry supplies.
Last year Kony became the focus of international attention after the advocacy group Invisible Children released a popular online video highlighting LRA crimes and calling for Kony to be stopped from recruiting children. Ugandan officials believe Kony may be hiding somewhere in the Central African Republic, but have not pinpointed the site.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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