President Obama authorized the deployment of about 100 U.S. combat-equipped troops to Uganda two days ago to help local forces capture or kill Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony, Mr. Obama told congressional leaders Friday in a letter.
The president told Speaker John A. Boeher, Ohio Republican, and Sen. Daniel Inouye, Hawaii Democrat and president pro tempore of the Senate, that “deploying these U.S. Armed Forces furthers U.S. national security interests and foreign policy and will be a significant contribution toward counter-LRA efforts in central Africa.”
“Although the U.S. 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,” Mr. Obama said in the letter.
The forces will be authorized to “remove from the battlefield” — another term for kill or capture — Mr. Kony and senior leaders of the LRA.
Mr. Obama said the LRA has been responsible over the past two decades or more for having “murdered, raped, and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women, and children in central Africa” and still engages in “atrocities across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan that have a disproportionate impact on regional security.”
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. is committed to supporting its regional partners in central Africa, having provided more than $40 million in logistical support, equipment and training to counter LRA operations since 2008.
Since 2008 alone, the Obama administration said the LRA has killed more than 2,400 persons and abducted more than 3,400. The United Nations estimates that over 380,000 people are displaced in the region due to LRA operations.