HAUTE-KOTTO PREFECTURE, Central African Republic — The helicopter settles in the elephant grass, rotor wash flattening the six-foot-tall fronds.

The first man on the ground is Travis, a brawny Green Beret with a solemn demeanor. He scans the treeline, carbine at the ready, and the rest of the soldiers follow.

Three Ugandan troops lead the way as a trio of Americans disperse through the column, weapons at the ready.

On its surface, this is a simple mission. U.S. Army Special Forces, or Green Berets, have been ordered to “apprehend or remove” one of the world’s most notorious warlords from the battlefield, along with his top commanders.

Joseph Kony built an army of child soldiers indoctrinated in his personality cult, robbing central Africa of a generation.

The self-proclaimed Christian prophet is accused of crimes including murder, rape, kidnapping and torture by the International Criminal Court.

The U.S. considers the elusive Kony a “specially designated global terrorist” and has offered up to $5 million for information leading to his capture.

Capture of Kony no longer a priority for US Special Operations

Read Next: Capture of Kony no longer a priority for US Special Operations

The area of operations is the size of California, with about 80 military personnel and several dozen support personnel tasked with finding around 150 fighters with Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.

Image: File photo of the leader of Lord's Resistance Army Joseph Kony in 2006
Joseph Kony in 2006, Reuters

 

Read the whole story from NBC News.  Follow the author on Twitter at @MacWBishop.