Entebbe: US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Friday that she hopes drones will soon be able to see through jungle cover so they can locate warlord Joseph Kony.
Hillary made the remark in Uganda as she watched a small US-made drone that the Ugandan military uses in Somalia to fight al Qaeda-linked militants.
The US last year sent 100 special forces advisers to Central Africa to help hunt Kony, the leader of the Lord`s Resistance Army, a band of jungle-roaming militants known for kidnapping children, taking girls as sex slaves and disfiguring victims. Ugandan forces are at the forefront in the hunt for Kony, whose campaign of terror originated in Uganda but who now is elsewhere in central Africa.
"Now we have to figure out how we can see through thick vegetation to find Joseph Kony," Hillary said at a Ugandan military base on Lake Victoria shortly after meeting with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
She chuckled as she made the comment, but it was clear she was serious about boosting the capabilities of troops searching for Kony.
Kony`s terror rampage was made famous earlier this year by a viral Internet campaign by the US-based aid group Invisible Children. The US troops helping in the hunt are in Uganda, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Congo.
"We have to figure out how to work with all the countries where he and his criminal bands are perhaps hiding. We have to put our heads together to find out what additional equipment and support you need to lead this effort to rid the world of this terrible man and his criminal behaviour," Hillary said.
Later, in Kampala, Hillary visited an AIDS clinic where she noted that new infections are on the rise.
A recent government report said the prevalence of HIV in this East African nation increased from 6.4 percent in 2004 to 7.3 percent in 2011, a shocking statistic for a country once praised for its global leadership in controlling AIDS. The same report said the number of Ugandans with HIV had doubled since 2004, from 1.2 million to 2.4 million.
"I am here because I am worried," said Hillary, who also said she had raised this issue with Museveni. "In recent years, the focus on prevention has faded, and new infections are on the rise again. ... Uganda is now the only country in sub-Saharan Africa where the rate is going up instead of down.”
"So I am hoping that together we can work on making the focus on prevention again and making sure that the rate of infection goes down, down, down," she said.
Earlier in the day, Hillary travelled to the world`s newest nation, South Sudan, to urge its leaders and their counterparts in the north to quickly reach agreements on oil revenue and other pressing issues to resolve festering differences that threaten to reignite a decades-long conflict.