US ends hunt for Joseph Kony as top rebels ‘off battlefield’

FILE - 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. A senior U.S. military official confirmed Monday, March 24, 2014 that the U.S. is sending at least four CV-22 Osprey aircraft and about 150 more Air Force special operations members and airmen to assist African forces in their long-running battle against Kony's Lord's Resistance Army, (LRA) (AP Photo/Stuart Price, Pool, File)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The head of U.S. armed forces in Africa says the force is ending its mission against Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army because the senior leadership of the rebel group has been “taken off the battlefield.”

In a conference call with reporters, Gen. Thomas Waldhauser said Kony’s rebel group is fighting for relevancy after a number of its senior leaders have been killed or captured.

Waldhauser’s comments come a day after the Ugandan government announced it would end the search for Kony, the LRA leader who is wanted by the International Criminal Court. The U.S. announced last month it would end its hunt for Kony.

In 2011 the U.S. deployed roughly 100 special forces troops as advisers to fight the LRA, and sent an additional 150 airmen to assist African forces in the search for Kony.