Rebel leader Kony 'hibernates,' evades jungle hunt

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
55 PHOTOS
The Search for Kony
See Gallery
Rebel leader Kony 'hibernates,' evades jungle hunt
Picture taken on May 13, 2012 shows weapons, seized by the Uganda army during the capture of Ceasar Acellam, a senior member of the Lord's Resistance Army, at the Ugandan army base in Djema. Ugandan troops have captured a senior member of the Lord's Resistance Army in a milestone arrest that could signal they are closing in on notorious rebel leader Joseph Kony. Caesar Acellam, considered the fourth-highest ranking member of the LRA, was arrested by Ugandan forces in Central African Republic, and was flown to the South Sudanese headquarters of the regional armies hunting the LRA. AFP PHOTO/MICHELE SIBILONI (Photo credit should read MICHELE SIBILONI/AFP/GettyImages)
Ceasar Acellam, a senior member of the Lord's Resistance Army, (R) speaks to the press at the Ugandan army base in Djema on May 13, 2012. Ugandan troops have captured a senior member of the Lord's Resistance Army in a milestone arrest that could signal they are closing in on notorious rebel leader Joseph Kony. Caesar Acellam, considered the fourth-highest ranking member of the LRA, was arrested by Ugandan forces in Central African Republic, and was flown to the South Sudanese headquarters of the regional armies hunting the LRA. AFP PHOTO/MICHELE SIBILONI (Photo credit should read MICHELE SIBILONI/AFP/GettyImages)
Ugandan army spokesman Felix Kulayigye (L) smiles next to Ceasar Acellam, a senior member of the Lord's Resistance Army (R) at the Ugandan army base in Djema on May 13, 2012. Ugandan troops have captured a senior member of the Lord's Resistance Army in a milestone arrest that could signal they are closing in on notorious rebel leader Joseph Kony. Caesar Acellam, considered the fourth-highest ranking member of the LRA, was arrested by Ugandan forces in Central African Republic, and was flown to the South Sudanese headquarters of the regional armies hunting the LRA. Acellam was captured along with a Ugandan woman, a Central African teenager and a baby. AFP PHOTO/MICHELE SIBILONI (Photo credit should read MICHELE SIBILONI/AFP/GettyImages)
In this Wednesday, June 25 2014 photo, Ugandan and U.S. soldiers examine the belongings of three fighters who defected from the Lord's Resistance Army rebel group in Central African Republic. African troops hoped the latest defector from the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group would have something fresh to say about the possible whereabouts of the infamous warlord Joseph Kony. But Sam Opio, a senior rebel commander who defected last week, shook his head and said he hadn’t seen rebel leader Kony since 2010. And he is not alone. All recent defectors have denied seeing or communicating with Kony in the last few years, complicating the work of U.S-backed Ugandan troops who are hunting down rebels in the dense, often-impenetrable jungles of Central Africa. An Associated Press reporter recently trailed soldiers tracking a very small group of rebels. (AP Photo/Rodnet Muhumuza)
In this Wednesday, June 25, 2014 photo, a Ugandan soldier displays weapons, including machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, that have recently been seized from members of the Lord's Resistance Army rebel group in Central African Republic. African troops hoped the latest defector from the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group would have something fresh to say about the possible whereabouts of the infamous warlord Joseph Kony. But Sam Opio, a senior rebel commander who defected last week, shook his head and said he hadn’t seen rebel leader Kony since 2010. And he is not alone. All recent defectors have denied seeing or communicating with Kony in the last few years, complicating the work of U.S.-backed Ugandan troops who are hunting down rebels in the dense, often-impenetrable jungles of Central Africa. An Associated Press reporter recently trailed soldiers tracking a very small group of rebels. (AP Photo/Rodnet Muhumuza)
In this Wednesday, June 25, 2014 file photo, three defecting fighters from the Lord's Resistance Army rebel group, from left, Sam Opio, Richard Okello and Walube Ojok, sit down for a debriefing session in Central African Republic. The African troops hoped the latest defector from the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group would have something fresh to say about the possible whereabouts of the infamous warlord Joseph Kony. But Sam Opio, a senior rebel commander who defected last week, shook his head and said he hadn’t seen rebel leader Kony since 2010. And he is not alone. All recent defectors have denied seeing or communicating with Kony in the last few years, complicating the work of U.S.-backed Ugandan troops who are hunting down rebels in the dense, often-impenetrable jungles of Central Africa. An Associated Press reporter recently trailed soldiers tracking a very small group of rebels. (AP Photo/Rodnet Muhumuza)
In this Wednesday, June 25, 2014 photo, Ugandan troops patrol the town of Zemio in Central African Republic, where they are hunting down the fugitive members of the Lord's Resistance Army rebel group. African troops hoped the latest defector from the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group would have something fresh to say about the possible whereabouts of the infamous warlord Joseph Kony. But Sam Opio, a senior rebel commander who defected last week, shook his head and said he hadn’t seen rebel leader Kony since 2010. And he is not alone. All recent defectors have denied seeing or communicating with Kony in the last few years, complicating the work of U.S.-backed Ugandan troops who are hunting down rebels in the dense, often-impenetrable jungles of Central Africa. An Associated Press reporter recently trailed soldiers tracking a very small group of rebels. (AP Photo/Rodnet Muhumuza)
Commander of the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) Gen. Aronda Nyakairima speaks to the media near Kampala, Uganda Monday, April 30, 2012. Nyakairima said Monday he found credible a recent report from a captured Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) fighter saying that the group's leader Joseph Kony was recently in the southern region of Sudan, though Sudan's information minister denied his government has ever supported the LRA. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
FILE - In this Sunday, April 29, 2012 file photo, troops from the Central African Republic stand guard at a building used for joint meetings between them and U.S. Army special forces, in Obo, Central African Republic, where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The U.S.-based Enough Project advocacy group said in a report released Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 that the hunt for the African warlord Joseph Kony is hopeless without more troops and urges American forces to "play a more operational role" on the ground. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
U.S. Army special forces Captain Gregory, 29, from Texas, center, who would only give his first name in accordance with special forces security guidelines, speaks with troops from the Central African Republic and Uganda, in Obo, Central African Republic, Sunday, April 29, 2012, where they are searching for infamous warlord Joseph Kony. Obo was the first place in the Central African Republic that Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) attacked in 2008 and today it's one of four forward operating locations where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Kony and hope he will stand trial at the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity after his forces cut a wide and bloody swath across several central African nations. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
FILE - In this Sunday, April 29, 2012 file photo, troops from the Central African Republic stand guard at a building used for joint meetings between them and U.S. Army special forces, in Obo, Central African Republic, where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). African troops captured a junior commander with the LRA - a rebel lieutenant known as Charles Okello - and rescued 10 people, mostly children, abducted by the rebels, Uganda's military said Tuesday, April 22, 2014, the latest blow against the rebel group in an international hunt for its fugitive leaders. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, April 29, 2012 file photo, troops from the Central African Republic stand guard at a building used for joint meetings between them and U.S. Army special forces, in Obo, Central African Republic, where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The spokesman for Uganda's military said Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 that he's pessimistic that reported contact with rebel leader and accused war criminal Joseph Kony will bear fruit. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, April 29, 2012 file photo, the town of Obo, where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), is seen from the air in the Central African Republic. Adventurer Robert Young Pelton, whose crowd-funding scheme has already drawn criticism from a pair of Africa experts, is the latest to join a line of private individuals and aid groups who are trying to corner Joseph Kony and the members of his Lord's Resistance Army. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, April 29, 2012 file photo, U.S. Army special forces Master Sergeant Eric, center, who would only give his first name in accordance with special forces security guidelines, speaks with troops from the Central African Republic and Uganda, in Obo, Central African Republic, where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Adventurer Robert Young Pelton, whose crowd-funding scheme has already drawn criticism from a pair of Africa experts, is the latest to join a line of private individuals and aid groups who are trying to corner Joseph Kony and the members of his Lord's Resistance Army. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, April 29, 2012 file photo, U.S. Army special forces Master Sergeant Eric, center, who would only give his first name in accordance with special forces security guidelines, speaks with troops from the Central African Republic and Uganda, in Obo, Central African Republic, where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The United States is looking for ways to ensure the hunt for wanted warlord Joseph Kony continues in Central African Republic despite a change in leadership in the country that has forced the search to be suspended, a State Department official said Thursday, April 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, April 29, 2012 file photo, troops from the Central African Republic stand guard at a building used for joint meetings between them and U.S. Army special forces, in Obo, Central African Republic, where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA Crisis Tracker group which tracks the Joseph Kony-led LRA said in a report released Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 that the LRA killed 51 civilians across Central Africa in 2012, a huge drop in the number killed from two years previous. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, April 29, 2012 file photo, U.S. Army special forces Master Sergeant Eric, center, who would only give his first name in accordance with special forces security guidelines, speaks with troops from the Central African Republic and Uganda, in Obo, Central African Republic, where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA Crisis Tracker group which tracks the Joseph Kony-led LRA said in a report released Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 that the LRA killed 51 civilians across Central Africa in 2012, a huge drop in the number killed from two years previous. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, April 29, 2012 file photo, U.S. Army special forces Captain Gregory, 29, from Texas, center, who would only give his first name in accordance with special forces security guidelines, speaks with troops from the Central African Republic and Uganda, in Obo, Central African Republic, where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Roughly one year after 100 U.S. special forces troops arrived in four Central Africa nations to advise African soldiers in their pursuit, Kony is still on the run and his exact whereabouts unknown. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, April 29, 2012 file photo, U.S. Army special forces Master Sergeant Eric, center, who would only give his first name in accordance with special forces security guidelines, speaks with troops from the Central African Republic and Uganda, in Obo, Central African Republic, where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Roughly one year after 100 U.S. special forces troops arrived in four Central Africa nations to advise African soldiers in their pursuit, Kony is still on the run and his exact whereabouts unknown. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, April 29, 2012 file photo, U.S. Army special forces Master Sergeant Eric, center, who would only give his first name in accordance with special forces security guidelines, speaks with troops from the Central African Republic and Uganda, in Obo, Central African Republic, where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The U.S.-based Enough Project advocacy group said in a report released Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 that the hunt for the African warlord Joseph Kony is hopeless without more troops and urges American forces to "play a more operational role" on the ground. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
Ricardo Dimanche, center, director of the tiny radio station Radio Zereda, which translates as Radio Peace and which is powered by solar panels and was partially built with U.S. funds to transmit its message, works at the station in Obo, Central African Republic, Sunday, April 29, 2012. Obo was the first place in the Central African Republic that Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) attacked in 2008 and today it's one of four forward operating locations where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Kony. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A soldier from the Central African Republic looks out over the dense forest as he stands guard at a building used for joint meetings between them and U.S. Army special forces, in Obo, Central African Republic, Sunday, April 29, 2012. Obo was the first place in the Central African Republic that Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) attacked in 2008 and today it's one of four forward operating locations where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Kony. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Children by the side of the road cheer as a convoy of troops from the Central African Republic, Uganda, U.S. Army special forces, and media, drives through Obo, Central African Republic, Sunday, April 29, 2012. Obo was the first place in the Central African Republic that Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) attacked in 2008 and today it's one of four forward operating locations where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Kony. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
U.S. Army special forces Master Sergeant Eric, center, who would only give his first name in accordance with special forces security guidelines, speaks with troops from the Central African Republic and Uganda, in Obo, Central African Republic, Sunday, April 29, 2012. Obo was the first place in the Central African Republic that Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) attacked in 2008 and today it's one of four forward operating locations where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Kony. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A soldier from the Central African Republic stands guard at a building used for joint meetings between them and U.S. Army special forces, in Obo, Central African Republic, Sunday, April 29, 2012. Obo was the first place in the Central African Republic that Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) attacked in 2008 and today it's one of four forward operating locations where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Kony. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Children by the side of the road watch as a convoy of troops from the Central African Republic, Uganda, U.S. Army special forces, and media, drives through Obo, Central African Republic, Sunday, April 29, 2012. Obo was the first place in the Central African Republic that Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) attacked in 2008 and today it's one of four forward operating locations where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Kony. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
U.S. Army special forces Captain Gregory, 29, from Texas, right, who would only give his first name in accordance with special forces security guidelines, speaks with troops from the Central African Republic and Uganda, in Obo, Central African Republic, Sunday, April 29, 2012. Obo was the first place in the Central African Republic that Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) attacked in 2008 and today it's one of four forward operating locations where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Kony. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
U.S. Army special forces Captain Gregory, 29, from Texas, who would only give his first name in accordance with special forces security guidelines, speaks with troops from the Central African Republic and Uganda, in Obo, Central African Republic, Sunday, April 29, 2012, where they are searching for infamous warlord Joseph Kony. Obo was the first place in the Central African Republic that Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) attacked in 2008 and today it's one of four forward operating locations where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Kony and hope he will stand trial at the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity after his forces cut a wide and bloody swath across several central African nations. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A soldier from the Central African Republic, right, looks across as U.S. Army special forces Captain Gregory, 29, from Texas, left, who would only give his first name in accordance with special forces security guidelines, speaks with other troops from the Central African Republic and Uganda, where they are searching for infamous warlord Joseph Kony, in Obo, Central African Republic, Sunday, April 29, 2012. Obo was the first place in the Central African Republic that Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) attacked in 2008 and today it's one of four forward operating locations where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Kony and hope he will stand trial at the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity after his forces cut a wide and bloody swath across several central African nations. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken Friday, April 20, 2012, Ugandan soldiers hunting for fugitive warlord Joseph Kony receive a briefing from their commander near the River Vovodo, in the Central African Republic. The hunt for notorious rebel leader Joseph Kony is heating up on international radars, but Ugandan foot soldiers who have spent years searching for the man are starting to ask a question their top commanders prefer to ignore: Is it possible he is dead? (AP Photo/Rodney Muhumuza)
In this photo taken Thursday, April 19, 2012, Ugandan soldiers hunting for fugitive warlord Joseph Kony eat breakfast before embarking on a 14-kilometer patrol near the River Vovodo, in the Central African Republic. The hunt for notorious rebel leader Joseph Kony is heating up on international radars, but Ugandan foot soldiers who have spent years searching for the man are starting to ask a question their top commanders prefer to ignore: Is it possible he is dead? (AP Photo/Rodney Muhumuza)
In this photo of Thursday April 19, 2012 a Ugandan soldier hunting for fugitive warlord Joseph Kony deep in the Central African Republic jungle patrols the area. For Ugandan soldiers tasked with catching Joseph Kony, the real threat is not the elusive Central Africa warlord and his brutal gang. Encounters between Ugandan troops and Lord's Resistance Army rebels are so rare that the Kony hunters worry about other things when they walk the jungle: armed poachers, wild beasts, honey bees, and even a widely-ranging fly that torments their ears during day. (AP Photo/Rodney Muhumuza)
In this photo of Thursday April 19, 2012 Ugandan soldiers hunting for fugitive warlord Joseph Kony relax after a 14-kilometer patrol near the River Vovodo, Central African Republic. For Ugandan soldiers tasked with catching Joseph Kony, the real threat is not the elusive Central Africa warlord and his brutal gang. Encounters between Ugandan troops and Lord's Resistance Army rebels are so rare that the Kony hunters worry about other things when they walk the jungle: armed poachers, wild beasts, honey bees, and even a widely-ranging fly that torments their ears during day. (AP Photo/Rodney Muhumuza)
In this photo of Thursday April 19, 2012 Ugandan soldiers hunting for Joseph Kony walk through the jungle near River Vovodo, Central African Republic . For Ugandan soldiers tasked with catching Joseph Kony, the real threat is not the elusive Central Africa warlord and his brutal gang. Encounters between Ugandan troops and Lord's Resistance Army rebels are so rare that the Kony hunters worry about other things when they walk the jungle: armed poachers, wild beasts, honey bees, and even a widely-ranging fly that torments their ears during day. (AP Photo/Rodney Muhumuza)
In this photo of Thursday April 19, 2012 Ugandan soldiers hunting for fugitive warlord Joseph Kony deep in the Central African Republic jungle patrol the area. For Ugandan soldiers tasked with catching Joseph Kony, the real threat is not the elusive Central Africa warlord and his brutal gang. Encounters between Ugandan troops and Lord's Resistance Army rebels are so rare that the Kony hunters worry about other things when they walk the jungle: armed poachers, wild beasts, honey bees, and even a widely-ranging fly that torments their ears during day. (AP Photo/Rodney Muhumuza)
In this photo of Wednesday April 18, 2012 two American soldiers, who did not give their names, assist in advising Ugandan troops hunting for Joseph Kony in Djema, an operational base in the Central African Republic. For Ugandan soldiers tasked with catching Joseph Kony, the real threat is not the elusive Central Africa warlord and his brutal gang. Encounters between Ugandan troops and Lord's Resistance Army rebels are so rare that the Kony hunters worry about other things when they walk the jungle: armed poachers, wild beasts, honey bees, and even a widely-ranging fly that torments their ears during day. (AP Photo/Rodney Muhumuza)
In this photo of Wednesday April 18, 2012 Ugandan troops load supplies to be sent to squads hunting for rebel leader Joseph Kony deep in the Central African Republic jungle. For Ugandan soldiers tasked with catching Joseph Kony, the real threat is not the elusive Central Africa warlord and his brutal gang. Encounters between Ugandan troops and Lords Resistance Army rebels are so rare that the Kony hunters worry about other things when they walk the jungle: armed poachers, wild beasts, honey bees, and even a widely-ranging fly that torments their ears during day. (AP Photo/Rodney Muhumuza)
A member of the Sudan’s People Liberation Army smoke as he awaits the arrival of delegates at Ri-Kwangba in southern Sudan, Thursday, April 10, 2008. Uganda's fugitive rebel leader delayed his expected signing of a peace deal Thursday to end one of Africa's longest wars, saying he needed clarification on terms of the deal, a senior Sudanese official said. Rebels and negotiators had gathered in a jungle clearing waiting for Joseph Kony, leader of the notoriously vicious Lord's Resistance Army, to emerge from hiding and sign a deal to end one of Africa's longest conflicts. (AP Photo/Glenna Gordon)
Soldiers from Uganda's Lord Resistance Army await the arrival of delegates at Ri-Kwangba in southern Sudan,Thursday, April 10, 2008. Uganda's fugitive rebel leader delayed his expected signing of a peace deal Thursday to end one of Africa's longest wars, saying he needed clarification on terms of the deal, a senior Sudanese official said. Rebels and negotiators had gathered in a jungle clearing waiting for Joseph Kony, leader of the notoriously vicious Lord's Resistance Army, to emerge from hiding and sign a deal to end one of Africa's longest conflicts. (AP Photo/Glenna Gordon)
Sudanese women welcome Riek Machar, the chief mediator and southern Sudan's vice president, as he arrives at Ri-Kwangba in southern Sudan, Thursday, April 10, 2008. Uganda's fugitive rebel leader delayed his expected signing of a peace deal Thursday to end one of Africa's longest wars, saying he needed clarification on terms of the deal, a senior Sudanese official said. Rebels and negotiators had gathered in a jungle clearing waiting for Joseph Kony, leader of the notoriously vicious Lord's Resistance Army, to emerge from hiding and sign a deal to end one of Africa's longest conflicts. (AP Photo/Glenna Gordon)
In this photo taken Oct. 5, 2009, soldiers of the Uganda Peoples Defence Army burn a heap of about 3500 confiscated illegal arms, recovered from Lords Resistance Army (LRA) rebels' caches and robbers throughout Uganda, and ranging from AK47s to machine guns, in Kampala, Uganda. The voices demanding that the U.S. Congress stop the brutality of African warlord Joseph Kony and his LRA belong to the nation’s children, some of whose parents work in Congress. (AP Photo/Stephen Wandera)
Leader of Lords Resistance Army, (LRA), peace delegation Martin Ojul, left, is welcomed back home at Koch Goma in Amuru a district northern Uganda, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007, by relatives after twenty one years. Members of the rebels' negotiating team, international observers and mediators from south Sudan were to tour war-affected areas in the north and east of the country for the next few weeks soliciting opinion on how the LRA should be judged. Victims _ not an international court _ should decide how Ugandan rebels notorious for mutilating civilians should be punished, negotiators for the Lord's Resistance Army said Tuesday. The rebels' top five commanders _ including its shadowy leader, Joseph Kony _ have been indicted by an international war crimes court for atrocities, including rape, mutilation and murder, committed during the two decade-long insurgency. But court officials have no arrest powers, and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's government has promised not to turn the LRA suspects over if they sign a peace deal. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2006 file photo the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, left, and his deputy Vincent Otti sit inside a tent at Ri-Kwamba in Southern Sudan. A video by the advocacy group Invisible Children about the atrocities carried out by jungle militia leader Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army is rocketing into viral video territory and is racking up millions of page views seemingly by the hour. (AP Photo/Stuart Price, File, Pool)
FILE - In this Sunday, April 29, 2012 file photo, U.S. Army special forces Captain Gregory, 29, from Texas, center, who would only give his first name in accordance with special forces security guidelines, speaks with troops from the Central African Republic and Uganda, in Obo, Central African Republic, where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Roughly one year after 100 U.S. special forces troops arrived in four Central Africa nations to advise African soldiers in their pursuit, Kony is still on the run and his exact whereabouts unknown. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
ADDITION / BYLINE TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY MAX DELANEY Ugandan soldiers patrol on April 18, 2012 through the central African jungle during an operation to fish out notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony. The unit is one of several dozen Ugandan army hunting squads -- backed up since late last year by 100 American special forces troops -- searching for any traces of the brutal rebel group in an inhospitable 400-kilometre stretch in the far eastern corner of the Central African Republic. The plan is to use the squads to constantly harry the rebels, who have splintered into small groups, denying them breathing space to regroup and resupply. And the Ugandan army says those tactics are paying off. AFP PHOTO/Yannick Tylle (Photo credit should read Yannick Tylle/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Sunday, April 29, 2012 file photo, U.S. Army special forces Master Sergeant Eric, center, who would only give his first name in accordance with special forces security guidelines, speaks with troops from the Central African Republic and Uganda, in Obo, Central African Republic, where U.S. special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA Crisis Tracker group which tracks the Joseph Kony-led LRA said in a report released Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 that the LRA killed 51 civilians across Central Africa in 2012, a huge drop in the number killed from two years previous. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
Ugandan Margareta Otto, 26, poses on February 1, 2012 in the northern Ugandan city of Gulu. Otto has five children and she bears scars of the decade-long war in northern Uganda, when fighters of the Lord's Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony, attacked her village and mutilated her face. While a short film recounting atrocities by Uganda's brutal rebels has become a huge Internet hit, with nearly 74 million views on March 12 on YouTube, victims of the ruthless insurgents chased from the country six years ago say it offers little help. Ugandan forces drove the rag-tag LRA fighters from northern Uganda in 2006, into the jungles in South Sudan, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they continue to kill, maim and abduct civilians. Kony, a semi-literate former altar boy, is accused by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of raping, mutilating and murdering civilians as well as forcibly recruiting child soldiers. AFP PHOTO / MICHELE SIBILONI (Photo credit should read MICHELE SIBILONI/AFP/Getty Images)
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, left, listens, as new prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, right, is holding her first speech as new prosecutor after a swearing-in ceremony at The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands, Friday, June 15, 2012. The ICC installed Gambian war crimes lawyer Fatou Bensouda as its new prosecutor for a nine-year term on Friday. Bensounda replaces Luis Moreno-Ocampo. She will be tasked with trying to bring to justice alleged war criminals including Uganda's Joseph Kony, Libya's Seif al-Islam Gadhafi and Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. (AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski, Pool)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


NZACKO, Central African Republic (AP) -- The African troops hoped the latest defector from the Lord's Resistance Army rebel group would have fresh insight into the location of infamous warlord Joseph Kony.

But Sam Opio, a senior rebel commander who defected last week, shook his head and said he hadn't seen rebel leader Kony since 2010.

He is not alone. All recent defectors have denied seeing or communicating with Kony in the last few years, complicating the work of U.S.-backed Ugandan troops who are hunting down rebels in the dense, often-impenetrable jungles of Central Africa that cover the size of France. An Associated Press reporter recently trailed soldiers tracking a small group of rebels.

Ugandan commanders lead the chase for Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court over many atrocities, from Obo, a tactical base set up in the middle of a sprawling bush in the southeastern part of Central African Republic. Their mandate - to kill or capture Kony -sets a high bar for foot soldiers who may also be at a disadvantage against a man who has spent all of his adult life in the bush.

"He's like a myth," Ugandan Lt. Col. John Kagwisa, the intelligence officer for military operations against the rebels, said of Kony. "His (fighters) see him as some kind of god, their spiritual god. They say that Kony can see what you're doing in the bush even if you're many miles away."

Kony has gone into what Ugandan commanders call "hibernation."

In Central African Republic, a sparsely populated but chaotic country with a history of political upheaval, Kony has a wide theater in which to operate and stay ahead of his pursuers. He now eschews any use of hi-tech devices, leaving soldiers heavily reliant on any human intelligence they can glean from defectors or civilians who encounter rebels scattered through Congo and Central African Republic.

Ugandan military commanders leading the mission say that it's likely most of the defectors haven't seen or heard from Kony in years. Kony now uses personal couriers to send out his orders, so even senior commanders for the Lord's Resistance Army may spend years without seeing their boss, they said.

"Where is he now? My guess is as good as yours. That's how elusive he is," said Ugandan Col. Michael Kabango, commander of Ugandan troops in Central African Republic.

Despite the challenges, commanders say the daily slog in the jungle is justified because it keeps rebels on the run and unable to regroup. Hundreds of rebels have defected since 2008.

Kony, known to his victims for years, shot to international notoriety in 2012 after the advocacy group Invisible Children made a popular online video highlighting his crimes. Earlier this year the U.S. sent more troops and military aircraft to support operations against the rebel group, beefing up some 100 special forces who had been deployed in 2011.

More than 500 rebels have been killed, 200 have defected and 86 have been captured since 2008, substantial numbers given that LRA membership has been falling drastically because of the group's diminished ability to orchestrate new abductions. At the peak of its powers the Lord's Resistance Army was notorious for taking girls as sex slaves and boys as fighters, one of the reasons the group attracted global attention. The U.S. has offered up to $5 million in rewards for information leading to Kony's capture.

Fewer than 500 rebels remain active in the bush, and now no longer an effective fighting force, they are focusing on survival, Ugandan commanders say. But the military also warns that, until Kony is caught or killed, victory can't be declared against a warlord whose brutal insurgency against the Ugandan government was originally based on a wish to rule the East African country according to the Ten Commandments.

Kony, who was ousted from Ugandan territory in 2006, is said to be a ruthless enforcer of discipline, demoting officers of questionable loyalty and executing those likely to defect. He recently made his son one of his deputies, a move seen by watchdog groups as indicative of Kony's growing concern for his safety, and avoids any direct confrontations with African troops searching for him.

"It is very frustrating indeed," said Kabango, the Ugandan commander. "If anybody knew where he is, we could have picked him up. It's not that obvious."

Kony is said to move back and forth between Central African Republic, Congo and a disputed enclave known as Kafia Kingi, which is controlled by Sudan's military. Sudan isn't cooperating with Uganda on operations against the rebels, and Kony is believed to seek safe haven in Kafia Kingi whenever his pursuers come close to getting him. Ugandan commanders can't fly reconnaissance missions over Kafia Kingi or even deploy ground troops there.

Kasper Agger, a researcher in Africa for the U.S.-based watchdog group Enough Project, said that it's crucial to get Kony because "he remains the center of gravity" in the Lord's Resistance Army and maintains control of his group, however degraded.

Local leaders in Central African Republic have been cooperative with Ugandan soldiers who spend their days searching for junior rebel fighters, and defectors are warmly welcomed by Ugandan and U.S. troops.

Defector Opio, putting on fatigues and now disarmed of his AK-47 rifle, said he offered to surrender after realizing that the Lord's Resistance Army "is very thin on the ground" amid an international hunt for its fugitive leaders.

"To me, the LRA has no future," he said after surrendering last week. "That's why I also decided to come out."
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners