The Ugandan Government has called off the search for notorious African warlord Joseph Kony who came to worldwide prominence after a short film about his group's atrocities went viral in 2012.

Kony leads the so-called Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), an armed group which operated in northern Uganda and southern Sudan, and which, as well as inflicting terror on local populations through killings, rapes and mutilations, was also known for abducting children whom it forced to act as soldiers and sex slaves. 

Ugandan troops have battled Kony, who is wanted for war crimes, and his followers for decades while US special forces joined the search for him in 2011. In March this year, the US announced it was withdrawing from the search with a general saying that Kony, who is believed to be in hiding with less than 100 followers, had become "irrelevant". 

Last week, the Ugandan Government announced it was withdrawing troops from the Central African Republic where they had been involved in the search for Kony, saying that he was now "weak and ineffective".

The short film Kony 2012, made by US-based activists, went viral online and while it was criticised for factual errors, it was instrumental in bringing the crimes of Kony and the LRA to global attention.

Kony and the LRA first emerged in northern Uganda almost 30 years ago where they killed more than 100,000 people and forced another two million from their homes. Pushed out of Uganda in 2005, the LRA has subsequently operated in countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and the CAR. Several of the LRA's key leaders have since surrendered.