, KAMPALA, Jan 21 – Ugandan soldiers hunting Lord’s Resistance Army rebel leader Joseph Kony have killed one of his top bodyguards who earned a grim reputation for the abduction of children, an army spokesman said Monday.
The rebel, known as Brigadier Binani, was killed Friday in a clash with Ugandan troops in the dense jungles of eastern Central African Republic close to the border with South Sudan, spokesman Felix Kulayigye said.
“We got intelligence that the group was there and the squads were inserted to pursue them,” Kulayigye said, adding that the clash took place some 280 kilometres (170 miles) north of the remote settlement of Djema.
In addition to being a topy Kony bodyguard, Binani was in charge of food collection as well as abducting children for the infamous rebel group, but may not have been recently operating close to Kony, Kulayigye said.
Believed to now number around 250 fighters, the LRA has waged a brutal 25-year insurgency against the Ugandan government, becoming infamous for mutilating victims and seizing children to use as sex slaves and porters.
The Ugandan army — backed up by around 100 US special forces troops — is spearheading the hunt for Kony in a vast area of sparsely populated jungle.
The LRA has split up into small groups and Kony is currently thought to be hiding out close to where the borders of the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Sudan meet.