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U.S. sending more personnel to Uganda to hunt LRA leader Joseph Kony

Xinhua - March 24, 2014
Joseph Kony
LRA leader Joseph Kony
The United States is deploying CV-22 Osprey aircraft and more military personnel to Uganda to help track down Joseph Kony, the leader of the notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) doing evil in several Central African nations, the State Department said on Monday.

"At the president's direction, the United States has deployed CV-22 Ospreys refueling aircraft and associated support personnel to augment U.S. support for the African Union Regional Task Force Counter-LRA Mission," spokeswoman Marie Harf said at a regular press briefing.

"This comes, obviously, as the latest step in what we've been very clear is an effort to counter the LRA, including take Joseph Kony off the battlefield," she added.

The Washington Post said the Ospreys will arrive in Uganda by midweek, along with refueling aircraft and some 150 Air Force Special Operations forces and other airmen.

Uganda will have at least four Ospreys, a multi-mission military aircraft with a capability of both vertical takeoff and landing and short takeoff and landing, the newspaper said.

The U.S. has suspended some programs with Uganda after the country's President Yoweri Museveni signed into law a bill criminalizing homosexuality despite opposition from Washington and other capitals.

The LRA was formed in the late 1980s and for over 15 years its attacks were mainly directed against Ugandan civilians and security forces. But after being dislodged by Ugandan forces in 2002, it had exported its rampage to neighboring countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

The LRA, accused of murdering, raping and kidnapping tens of thousands of men, women and children in the Central African region, has been listed as a foreign terrorist organization by Washington, while Kony is being wanted by The Hague-based International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Obama administration sent some 100 U.S. military advisers to the Central African region in October 2011 to help track down Kony.

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