US sending more aircraft, personnel for hunt for Kony

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Associated Press

Posted on March 24, 2014 at 2:02 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is sending military aircraft and more than doubling the number of American troops and airmen on the ground to assist in the hunt for fugitive African warlord Joseph Kony.

A senior U.S. military official has confirmed that the U.S. is sending at least four CV-22 Osprey aircraft and about 150 more Air Force special operations members and airmen to assist African forces. That raises the number of American troops and airmen on the ground to 250.

Kony is the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, or LRA. The United Nations and human rights groups have accused the LRA of killing and mutilating civilians and kidnapping and forcing thousands of children to become soldiers and sex slaves.

An Africa expert said today that the group is weaker than ever before, and the beefed-up assistance could be "the decisive game-changer" in the hunt for Kony.

President Barack Obama sent about 100 U.S. troops in 2011 to help African Union forces find Kony, but so far the warlord has eluded them in Central Africa's vast jungles. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said today the additional support will enable the African Union troops "to conduct targeted operations to apprehend remaining LRA combatants."

%@AP Links

157-v-31-(Sandy Kozel, AP correspondent)--The U.S. is sending more troops and aircraft to help search for a fugitive African warlord. AP correspondent Sandy Kozel reports. (24 Mar 2014)

<<CUT *157 (03/24/14)££ 00:31

158-c-14-(Sandy Kozel, AP correspondent)-"in the lead"-AP correspondent Sandy Kozel reports the search for African warlord Joseph Kony is getting more help from the U.S. military. (24 Mar 2014)

<<CUT *158 (03/24/14)££ 00:14 "in the lead"

APPHOTO JOH101: FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2006 file photo, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony answers journalists' questions following a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland at Ri-Kwamba in southern Sudan. A senior U.S. military official confirmed Monday, March 24, 2014 that the U.S. is sending at least four CV-22 Osprey aircraft and about 150 more Air Force special operations members and airmen to assist African forces in their long-running battle against Kony's Lord's Resistance Army, (LRA) (AP Photo/Stuart Price, Pool, File) (12 Nov 2006)

<<APPHOTO JOH101 (11/12/06)££

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