US Forces in Uganda to Support Fight Against Lord’s Resistance Army

Posted October 14th, 2011 at 7:40 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama is deploying 100 U.S. troops to central Africa to support the region's fight against a guerilla group known for atrocities against civilians.

Rebels of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony, have been accused of kidnapping children, murder and rape in Uganda and neighboring countries.

President Obama informed Congress in a letter that he has authorized a contingent of U.S. combat forces to be deployed in the region to help remove Kony from the battlefield. He said the U.S. soldiers will not engage the rebels directly, except in self-defense.

The first of the 100 U.S. troops arrived in Uganda Wednesday.

The U.S. troops are to provide information, advice and assistance in Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Lord's Resistance Army is accused of killing, kidnapping and mutilating tens of thousands of people across central Africa during a campaign that began in the late 1980s. Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Mr. Obama noted that since 2008, the U.S. has been supporting regional military efforts to pursue the LRA and to protect local communities, but efforts to remove Kony and his top commanders have failed.

Mr. Obama also noted that Congress showed its support for U.S. efforts against the LRA by approving the 2010 law on the issue .

In July, the United Nations Security Council condemned the ongoing LRA attacks against people in central Africa. It demanded that the LRA disarm and stop its atrocities, which have displaced 380,000 people in the region.

The Security Council praised the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Uganda for banding together against the LRA.