In Hunt For Warlord Joseph Kony, US Military Turns To Unsavory Partners

In this Nov. 12, 2006 file photo, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony answers journalists' questions following a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland at Ri-Kwamba in southern Sudan.
AP photo by Stuart Price

Five years into the hunt for African warlord Joseph Kony, U.S. special operations forces are closing in on their target, but the gains they made may have come at a price. The military is cooperating with a group of Muslim rebels known as Seleka, who toppled the Central African Republic’s government two years ago and plunged the country into sectarian war.

A military official, who spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity, said that the Seleka rebels “are playing us” and trying to curry favor with the U.S. military, while extorting local villagers and trading with Kony’s fighters.

The two groups are at odds as often as they are in cooperation with one another, but the decision to ally with Seleka came down to regional power, explained Lisa Dougan, president of Invisible Children, an advocacy group that drew international attention to the group’s atrocities three years ago.

“When you do a map of who has power in the area, they’re the ones. They have the guns,” said Dougan.

Roughly 100 U.S. military advisors are deployed as part of a joint effort across four countries to catch Kony, whose militia, the Lord’s Resistance Army, has raped, killed, and abducted tens of thousands of peoples over the last three decades.

The commander of the Marine Corps' Wounded Warrior Regiment has been relieved over a loss of "trust and confidence in his ability to lead" amid an investigation into his conduct, a Corps official told Task & Purpose on Thursday.

Col. Lawrence F. Miller was removed from his post on Thursday morning and replaced with his executive officer, Lt. Col. Larry Coleman, who will serve as interim commander of the Quantico, Virginia based unit.

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"The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher's Trident Pin," the president tweeted on Thursday. "This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!"

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Photos: 1st Cavalry Division

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T-38 Talon training aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Two airmen from Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, were killed on Thursday when two T-38 Talon training aircraft crashed during training mission, according to a message posted on the base's Facebook age.

The two airmen's names are being withheld pending next of kin notification.

A total of four airmen were onboard the aircraft at the time of the incident, base officials had previously announced.

The medical conditions for the other two people involved in the crash was not immediately known.

An investigation will be launched to determine the cause of the crash.

Emergency responders from Vance Air Force Base are at the crash scene to treat casualties and help with recovery efforts.

Read the entire message below:

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Two Vance Air Force Base Airmen were killed in an aircraft mishap at approximately 9:10 a.m. today.

At the time of the accident, the aircraft were performing a training mission.

Vance emergency response personnel are on scene to treat casualties and assist in recovery efforts.

Names of the deceased will be withheld pending next of kin notification.

A safety investigation team will investigate the incident.

Additional details will be provided as information becomes available. #VanceUpdates.

This is a breaking news story. It will be updated as more information is released.