US Hunt for Joseph Kony Heats Up

Obama to send aircraft, 150 special ops forces to Uganda
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2014 6:03 AM CDT
US Hunt for Joseph Kony Heats Up
In this Nov. 12, 2006 file photo, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony following a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland at Ri-Kwangba in southern Sudan.   (AP Photo/Stuart Price, File, Pool)

A viral video campaign may not have turned up a warlord accused of murder, rape, and kidnapping in central Africa, but the White House is hoping a ramped up effort by the United States will. The Washington Post reports that President Obama has ordered a strengthened US presence in Uganda—including at least four CV-22 Osprey aircraft, 150 Air Force Special Ops forces and other airmen—in an attempt to find Joseph Kony and deliver him to the International Criminal Court. That brings the total of US troops in the country to 300, outnumbering the estimated 250 fighters of Kony's Lord's Resistance Army, which has taken some major blows recently.

The parameters for the new troops—which also include refueling planes, the BBC notes—will be much the same as when Obama sent 100 troops to hunt for Kony in 2011: Personnel may "provide information, advice, and assistance" to the African Union task force hunting Kony and the LRA across Uganda, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Congo, but they may not engage in combat unless in self-defense. The Ospreys in particular "will make a significant difference in the ability to respond to leads" about Kony's whereabouts, and can carry 24 troops each, a Defense Department official said. (Read more Joseph Kony stories.)

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