By RODNEY MUHUMUZA of The Associated Press via Huff Post Black Voices
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.”
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