U.S. reporters on Junket to central Africa to observe Military training (36574)

May 1 (GIN) – The U.S. State Department was in the travel business this week, offering tours to a Special Forces base within the Central African Republic – the staging ground for the pursuit of noted rebel commander Joseph Kony.

Reporters were ferried to one of the four bases being used by U.S. forces to search for the Ugandan-born Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army for over two decades.

Thousands of African soldiers from Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic are receiving training here from U.S. forces.

But major obstacles stand in the way of the multi-national search for Kony. “Because there are so few roads and telephones, it often takes weeks for news of an attack to reach the fusion center,” NY Times writer Jeffrey Gettleman reported. “By the time the Green Berets sift the information and help dispatch the Ugandan hunting squads, Mr. Kony is gone. The Americans say they never go on patrols themselves.”

The biggest challenge is Mr. Kony’s turf, the size of California and so rugged that American gadgetry mostly useless. “Picture towering trees that blot out the sun, endless miles of elephant grass, and swirling brown rivers that coil like intestines and are infested with crocodiles; one of them recently ate a Ugandan member of the force,” Gettleman wrote.

Meanwhile, a warlord has taken over several towns in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Known locally as “the Terminator”, Gen. Bosco Ntaganda is wanted by the International Criminal Court for using child soldiers. w/pix of B. Ntaganda