US troops end hunt for LRA warlord

US special forces on Wednesday begin pulling out of Central African Republic where they deployed in 2011 to help hunt the brutal LRA warlord Joseph Kony.
The move, which was announced last month, will see US troops pulling out of the country’s east where they have been helping Ugandan forces track down rebels from the feared Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
“The time has come to move forward because the organisation itself is really in a survival mode,” General Thomas Waldhauser, head of the US military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) said in a telephone briefing last week.
One of Africa’s longest-surviving rebel groups, the LRA has terrorised parts of central Africa for 30 years.
Several years ago it counted several thousand fighters but today has fewer than 100, with the rebels dispersed across parts of CAR, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and South Sudan.
Since it was set up by Kony in 1987, the LRA has slaughtered more than 100,000 people and abducted 60,000 children who were forced to become sex slaves and soldiers, UN figures show.
In 2011, Washington sent in around 100 US troops to eastern CAR to help regional forces hunt down Kony, adding another 150 special forces airmen three years later.
But last month, AFRICOM said it would be wrapping up the operation, which has cost between $600 and $800 million, even though Kony remains at large.

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