NAIROBI – The Ugandan military has suspended its hunt for war crimes suspect Joseph Kony and his Lords Resistance Army, delivering a major setback to capturing a notorious warlord accused in the abductions of tens of thousands of children over the past three decades.
Wednesdays announcement came days after rebels seized power in the Central African Republic, where Kony is believed to be hiding, and then refused to cooperate with Ugandan troops stationed in the country. As a result, Ugandan army spokesman Felix Kulayigye said in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, that the hunt for Kony would be suspended until further notice.
For the past several years, Ugandan forces have sought Kony and the LRA, as his militia is called, in the jungles of the Central African Republic, as well as in Uganda, Congo and South Sudan. The Ugandans head an African Union mission of about 3,000 troops, the bulk of whom are from Uganda, in the Central African Republic. In late 2011, the Obama administration dispatched about 100 U.S. Special Forces troops to advise in the effort to capture Kony.
Since the 1980s, the LRA, which Kony created in the 1980s to overthrow Ugandas government, has abducted children and transformed them into killers and sex slaves. Several years ago, the militia left Uganda but continued to terrorize villagers in central Africa across a swath the size of Texas, taking advantage of weak governments and porous borders.