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Uganda Suspends Hunt for LRA Chief Kony

  • VOA News

A Ugandan soldier tracking down Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) fugitive leaders takes position behind a machine gun at a forest bordering Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, near river Chinko, (File photo).
The Ugandan army has suspended its hunt for war crimes suspect Joseph Kony in the Central African Republic, following the rebel takeover of the country.

Army spokesman Felix Kulayigye told reporters Wednesday that operations against Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) are on hold "until further notice."

Uganda says the Seleka rebels who seized power in the C.A.R. last week are not recognized by the African Union and are not cooperating with Ugandan troops, prompting Wednesday's decision.

Ugandan troops have spent several years chasing Kony and the LRA through central Africa, assisted by a small number of U.S. special forces.

The LRA, which originated in northern Uganda, is notorious for attacking and looting small towns and villages, killing residents and kidnapping children to bolster its forces.

Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court on 33 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity -- including murder, rape, and cruel treatment of civilians.

In recent years, the group has broken up into roving bands of fighters, attacking villages in the C.A.R., South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kulayigye said Uganda is not removing its troops from the C.A.R. but will pull them back to bases in the east. He warned the LRA may use the suspension to carry out new attacks.