AU Sending 5,000 Troops to Find LRA Leader Kony

Posted March 23rd, 2012 at 11:20 am (UTC-5)
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The African Union says it will deploy an additional 5,000 troops to search for fugitive rebel leader Joseph Kony, head of the Lord's Resistance Army.

The announcement was made in Entebbe, Uganda Friday by Francisco Madeira, the AU's special envoy on the LRA.

Madeira said the the troops will be supplied by Uganda, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo — countries where the rebels have been active.

He said they will work with 100 U.S. military personnel sent to central Africa last year to help hunt down the LRA.

Madiera said the operation will not end until Kony is captured or killed.

The LRA has lost considerable strength in recent years but continues to attack villages in the DRC and Central African Republic.

Originally based in Uganda, the group has killed and mutilated tens of thousands of people over the past two decades and is notorious for kidnapping children to use as soldiers and sex slaves.

LRA leader Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Ugandan troops have been hunting the LRA in central Africa for several years, since the rebels left Uganda in 2006.

Madeira said the new effort is not a response to a campaign to raise awareness of the LRA by a U.S. advocacy group, Invisible Children.

The group successfully used Twitter and YouTube to publicize a film about the rebels, “Kony2012.”