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The hunt for Joseph Kony continues

Elusive rebel leader is tracked through the central Africa jungle across four countries.
Joseph kony 2012 congoEnlarge
Ugandan soldiers search through thick vegetation around the Congolese jungle, a longtime hideout for renegade Joseph Kony, leader with a bounty on his head of the notorious Lord's Resistance Army infamous for brutal mutilations on its human victims. (Ben Simon/AFP/Getty Images)

Now that the world knows about Joseph Kony, thanks to the Kony 2012 video, how is the hunt to stop his violence going?

It is proving to be hard work to track down Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army.

African troops, aided by 100 US military advisers, have fanned out across the jungle the size of California that spans four countries: Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. The area is one of the most remote places on Earth.

The military have helped to make some areas more secure for rural Africans, but other areas report more frequent attacks by Kony's men. And most importantly, no one has found and captured Kony.

More from GlobalPost: Kony 2012 flops in Uganda

Kony's vicious band has spread terror across the patch of central Africa for more than 20 years. Kony used to command an estimated 2,000 fighters, but now his men may number as few as 300. And even that number has broken up into smaller groups that can be self-sufficient in the bush, according to US military advisers who spoke to the New York Times reporter Jeffrey Gettelman, who went with the US forces to Obo in the Central African Republic.

Top Ugandan military officers charge that Kony is difficult to find because he is getting support from Sudan, according to Associated Press.

Ugandan forces commander Gen. Aronda Nyakairima said Monday that he has credible reports that Kony was recently in the southern region of Sudan. A Ugandan military spokesman said the some LRA rebels captured by the Ugandan army were wearing new uniforms supplied by Sudan. The Ugandans say that Sudan President Omar al-Bashir is giving support to help Kony destabilize South Sudan and Uganda. 

Sudan flatly denies the charges that it has ever supported Kony's LRA.

Last year US President Barack Obama sent 100 military advisers to Uganda to help track down Kony. The US Special Operations troops use high tech gear like night vision scopes and satellite tracking, but central Africa's deep, triple canopy jungle is difficult to penetrate, even by the high tech gear.

The US assistance is part of the Pentagon strategy to use "innovative, low-cost and small footprint approaches" to achieve its security objectives in Africa, said US Navy SEALs captain Ken Wright, the commander of the US force, reported the New York Times.

This is not the first time that the US has been involved in chasing Kony.

In 2008 US troops were part of a raid on Kony's camp in eastern Congo, dubbed Operation Lightning Thunder, according to CNN. Unfortunately the strike was not as fast as lightning and Kony and his men escaped the attack. It appears they had been tipped off, according to reports. Kony and his fighters were dispersed, but they made a retaliatory attack in Congo in which an estimated 300 people were killed.

Since 2008, Kony's LRA has abducted an estimated 3,000 children, many of whom have been forced to fight as LRA soldiers. Hundreds of the children have escaped and others have died in the brutal conditions, according to human rights groups.

Life is slowly returning to normal in the heavily forested areas of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where Kony used to be headquartered, according to the aid group, Samaritan's Purse.

The US forces are not actually out fighting Kony, they are assisting and advising the African troops which include troops from Uganda and the Central African Republic. The African Union has pledged to send a force of 5,000 to hunt Kony. Although Kony and his shrinking band are reportedly on the run, no one underestimates the difficulty of catching him.

More from GlobalPost: African Union force to hunt Joseph Kony

"I call it 'Man On The Moon' syndrome — if America can put a man on the moon, why haven't we caught Joseph Kony?" said US General Carter Ham, who is in charge of the US Africa Command (Africom), to the BBC. "We are there to work with our partner forces from the countries of Central Africa."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/the-hunt-joseph-kony-continues