President Barack Obama informed Congress Friday that he’s deploying a force of 100 U.S. combat troops to Africa to help local forces take out the leader of a militant group accused of atrocities and terrorizing civilians, the White House announced Friday.
“For more than two decades, the Lord’s Resistance Army has murdered, raped and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women, and children in central Africa,” Obama explained in a letter addressed to House Speaker John Boehner and congressional leaders Friday. “The LRA continues to commit atrocities across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan that have a disproportionate impact on regional security.”
Long considered one of Africa’s most brutal rebel groups, the Lord’s Resistance Army, headed by the self-proclaimed “Spokesman of God,” Joseph Kony, has been attempting to overthrow the Ugandan government for years with the expressed aim of building a government centered on the Ten Commandments.
Kony, who adds to his army by abducting children and forcing them to fight, often mutilating them, is on the U.S. terrorist list and is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity committed in a two-decade war in northern Uganda between rebels and government soldiers.
“If you ever had any question if there was evil in this world, it’s resident in the person of Joseph Kony and in that organization,” the commander of U.S. forces in Africa, Gen. Carter Ham, said in a speech earlier this month.
According to Obama’s letter, an initial team of combat-equipped U.S. military personnel was sent to Uganda on October 12th and additional forces – including a second combat-equipped team and personnel for headquarters, communications and logistics – would be sent during the next month. In total, Obama said about 100 service personnel would be deployed.
“These forces will act as advisers to partner forces that have the goal of removing from the battlefield Joseph Kony and other senior leadership of the LRA,” Obama said, adding that even though the forces are combat-equipped, “they will only be providing information, advice and assistance to partner nation forces, and they will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense.”
via LA Times