The United States has turned to an unlikely partner to help find Joseph Kony, the African warlord who led his Lord’s Resistance Army in the rape, abduction and enslavement of thousands of African children. American Special Operations forces have begun working with the Séléka, a mostly Muslim rebel militia that overthrew the government of the Central African Republic, the Washington Post reported.
The Séléka are known to have caused the still raging conflict in their takeover of the African country, and are also known to rape women and carry out executions and torture, according to the Guardian. Kony, a Ugandan who has eluded capture for years, thinks he speaks for God, and is now believed to be hiding in Sudan, the Guardian reported.
National Security Council spokesman Peter Boogaard told the Washington Post that military advisors might meet “actors” who have information about the Lord’s Resistance Army, but that the U.S. doesn’t provide assistance to the Séléka.
Séléka and Lord’s Resistance Army fighters sometimes engage in trade together, while at other times openly fight each other. Séléka rebels have even captured a Lord’s Resistance Army commander once before and demanded a reward for it, the BBC reported.
Military officials said some U.S troops have regularly met with Séléka militia to get intelligence related to the Lord’s Resistance Army. U.S. forces are not allowed to enter Sudan, where Kony is believed to be hiding, but some U.S. advisors are set up in a camp just outside the country in the Central African Republic.
U.S. President Barack Obama is set to decide in October whether to continue hunting Kony, which the U.S. began doing in 2011. Boogaard declined to comment to the Washington Post on whether Obama would extend the search.
— Craig Whitlock (@CraigMWhitlock) September 29, 2015
The U.S. has deployed about 100 military advisers to try to find Kony, but the partnership with the Séléka has made some nervous. One military official, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Washington Post he or she thought the Séléka is playing the United States.