- Associated Press - Friday, June 10, 2016

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) - Uganda plans to withdraw all of its troops from a mission in Central African Republic whose goal is to hunt down members of the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group, a military official said Friday.

Authorities have notified the African Union of plans to withdraw the 2,500 or so troops before the end of this year, Ugandan military spokesman Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda told The Associated Press.

Ankunda said the rebel group no longer poses a threat to Uganda, where the rebels’ presence once forced millions of people to live in camps for the displaced.

“The rebels have been sufficiently degraded,” he said.

The Ugandan soldiers are operating in the jungles of Central African Republic under the AU mission, supported by U.S. special forces.

LRA leader Joseph Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

He is believed to be hiding in Kafia Kingi, a Sudanese-controlled enclave on the border of Central African Republic and South Sudan. Watchdog groups have described Kafia Kingi as a safe haven for Kony because African troops hunting for him do not have access to the territory.

One of Kony’s former lieutenants, Dominic Ongwen, was arrested in Central African Republic last year and sent to face trial at The Hague.

The LRA, which originated in Uganda in the 1980s as a tribal uprising against the government, became well-known for kidnapping children to become fighters and forcing girls to be sex slaves.

The group is reportedly in decline, with many of its fighters surrendering or killed in firefights with African troops.

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