NAIROBI, Kenya — Pressure groups in the US won a victory last year when President Obama agreed to send 100 "military advisors" to Central Africa to help fight the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group that specializes in child abduction, mutilation and murder. Now it seems that decision is having some effect.
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In a telephone briefing with journalists this week, Rear Admiral Brian L. Losey said US troops were based in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and Uganda. The LRA emerged in Uganda in the 1980s, but was evicted from the country in 2005, and now roams across the other three countrues, looting, pillaging, and attacking villagers.
"We've already seen a decrease in the lethality of LRA activities, which we think is attributable in part to the pressure we and our partners are applying," Losey said.
LRA boss Joseph Kony, a mystical leader who claims to want to rule Uganda according to the Ten Commandments, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for a host of crimes.
At a separate briefing at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa, Karl Wycoff, said:
"With our support, these four military forces continue to make some progress in reducing the LRA's numbers and keeping them from regrouping... In the last several months, scores of people have defected, escaped, or been released from the LRA's ranks."