Special Forces missions are as varied as the men who conduct them. Right now, in the Central African Republic, US Special Forces and Ugandan soldiers are conducting operations to “apprehend or remove” one of the most wanted terrorist warlords in Africa.
Joseph Kony is a self-proclaimed Christian prophet and he’s been charged with a number of crimes including murder, rape, kidnapping and torture by the International Criminal Court.
There is a $5 million price on his head for information leading to his capture. The US government considers him a specially designated global terrorist and has put up the bounty money.
Green Berets are leading Ugandan troops searching for Kony and his “Lord’s Resistance Army” (LRA) in an area the size of California. Kony and his followers have been operating in four different countries and thus far has eluded capture.
As the Trump administration shifts its focus to counterterrorism, the Green Berets’ mission to find Kony may be axed as early as this month with the warlord still at large.
Dubbed Operation Observant Compass, America is a relative newcomer to this fight. Uganda is not.
The Ugandan People’s Defense Force (UPDF), has been fighting the LRA for almost 30 years.
At the height of its power, the LRA counted as many as 3,000 fighters among its ranks.
It preyed upon villages of northern Uganda, kidnapping young boys and forcing them to commit atrocities against their neighbors and families.
There is talk of ending the US involvement in the mission from AFRICOM, the US command in Africa due to the exorbitant cost of continuing to fund the operations. Although Kony’s forces are rumored to be defeated and on the run, the operation will not be complete until he’s either killed or captured.
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Photo courtesy DOD