US Ends Hunt for Joseph Kony as Top Rebels 'Off Battlefield'

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Uganda's military says it has started pulling i.

While the Ugandan and USA military officers say that they have weakened the capacity of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan rebel group, to cause mayhem, experts argue that the withdrawal of troops without capturing rebel leader Joseph Kony may cause a vacuum leading to the regrouping of the outfit.

Ugandan army spokesman Brig.

While Kony remains wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Key rebel commanders, Dominic Ongwen, Okot Odyambo have been killed.

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The U.S. military advisors totaling to about 100 are scheduled to leave the jungles on April 26.

A smaller contingent was based in South Sudan. In 2012, the USA -based advocacy group Invisible Children made a highly successful video highlighting the LRA's alleged crimes, including the abduction of children for use as sex slaves or fighters. A former senior LRA commander, Dominic Ongwen, is now on trial at the ICC in The Hague.

The UPDF has since 2012 been part of the African Union Regional Task Force.

Ugandan newspapers report the first batch of soldiers have returned from the Central African Republic, where the soldiers searching for Kony have been based.

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The decision to withdraw was premised on the realization that the mission to neutralize the LRA has now been successfully achieved.

Kony "will likely ramp up attacks if Uganda fully backs off", said Sasha Lezhnev of The Enough Project, which monitors LRA activities.

He further said that the UPDF operations have contributed significantly to the restoration of peace and tranquillity in big areas of the Central Africa Republic (CAR).

According to the Sudan Tribune, on March 29, the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced the removal of U.S. military forces participating in the Regional Task Force (RTF) against the LRA due to its weakened status.

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In a conference call with reporters, Gen. Thomas Waldhauser said Kony's rebel group is fighting for relevancy after a number of its senior leaders have been killed or captured.

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