Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, the head of the U.S. military's Africa Command, said most of the American forces have landed in Uganda and are beginning to coordinate the efforts of four central African countries as they comb a huge expanse of jungle for Joseph Kony, the messianic founder of the Lord's Resistance Army. Kony and his rebels are accused of killing, maiming, kidnapping and raping thousands of civilians in Uganda, the Central African Republic, Congo and South Sudan.
Obama administration officials have been vague about how long U.S. forces will remain in central Africa. In congressional testimony recently, a senior defense official said that the mission would last a matter of "months" but allowed that it would be reviewed over time.
Ham said the plan is to keep troops in the region until Kony is killed or brought to justice.
"That's the mission," Ham said in an interview during a visit to Washington last week.
The Lord's Resistance Army has been fighting against the Ugandan government and attacking civilians for nearly a quarter century, but Ham predicted that the group "will probably wither" if Kony is apprehended.