Uganda suspends hunt for warlord Kony
03 April 2013, 16:30
Kampala - Uganda has suspended the hunt for fugitive warlord
Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army fighters, blaming hostility towards
foreign troops by Central African Republic rebels who seized power last month.
Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war
crimes. He and his commanders are accused of abducting thousands of children to
use as fighters in a rebel army that earned a reputation for chopping off limbs
as a form of discipline.
Uganda provides more than 3 000 troops of a 5 000-strong
African Union force hunting Kony and his fighters, who are thought to be hiding
in jungles straddling the borders of Central African Republic, South Sudan and
Democratic Republic of Congo.
A separate coalition of rebels in Central African Republic,
known as Seleka, toppled President Francois Bozize last month. They swept into
the capital Bangui in a lightning offensive which triggered days of looting and
drew international condemnation.
The Seleka rebels also killed 13 South African soldiers
during their attack on Bangui.
"These rebels have been openly hostile to us and following
that, the president [of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni] has ordered us only to be in
defensive positions," said Dick Olum, head of Ugandan troops in the force
hunting Kony, and also the overall force commander.
"So we've temporarily suspended offensive operations
against the LRA for now until we receive further orders," he told Reuters
It was not immediately clear if troops from other countries
in the regional force were also giving up the search. Ugandan media reported
that about 100 US special forces helping with intelligence and logistical
support had suspended operations.
"We have temporarily paused the operations against LRA
to give us time to consult with the State Department," Crane Elise, US
embassy information officer in Kampala, told Uganda's Daily Monitor newspaper.
LRA fighters fought the Ugandan government for nearly two
decades before being ejected from their strongholds in the north of the country
in 2005, forcing them to establish bases in the jungles of other countries in