Obama orders 100 troops into Uganda as advisers
WASHINGTON - President Obama said yesterday he is dispatching about 100 US troops to Africa to help battle the Lord’s Resistance Army, which the administration accuses of a campaign of killing, rape, and kidnapping children over two decades.
In a letter to Congress, Obama said the troops will act as advisers in efforts to search for rebel leader Joseph Kony but will not engage in combat except in self-defense.
Pentagon officials said the bulk of the contingent will be special operations troops, who will provide security and combat training to African units.
The White House said the first troops arrived in Uganda on Wednesday. Ultimately, they will also deploy in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The deployment to central Africa is the latest sign of an increasing administration focus on the continent, amid increasing concern about shaky governments, civil strife, and sprawling regions that have become both havens for terrorists.
Long considered one of Africa’s most brutal rebel groups, the Lord’s Resistance Army began attacks in Uganda more than 20 years ago but has been pushing westward.
The administration and human rights groups said the group’s atrocities have left thousands dead and have prompted as many as 300,000 Africans to flee.
They have charged the group with seizing children to bolster its ranks of soldiers and sometimes forcing them to become sex slaves.