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In sign of hope, brutal African warlord who uses children loses grip as his fighters defect

A U.S.-based watchdog group says a series of defections from the Lord's Resistance Army have left the Central African rebel group weaker than ever.

The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative said in a report Wednesday that fugitive warlord Joseph Kony is losing his grip on the brutal group that originated in Uganda but which now is active in Congo and Central African Republic.

The report says about 15 percent of his fighters have defected since January 2012 and that Kony has started executing disobedient commanders.

Some 100 U.S. military advisers are helping about 3,000 African troops in a military mission that encourages defections from the LRA through "Come Home" messages distributed in the bush.

Kony is hiding in territory controlled by Sudan's military, according to the report.