Obama Sending U.S. Combat Troops to Uganda
President Barack Obama is sending 100 U.S. combat troops to Uganda to advise that country’s military as it battles rebels from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
According to Agence France-Presse, those American troops could be deployed in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the newly-established nation of South Sudan.
“These forces will act as advisors to partner forces that have the goal of removing from the battlefield Joseph Kony and other senior leadership of the LRA,” Obama declared, stressing that the Americans will only be acting in an advisory role and would not engage LRA fighters unless attacked by them first.
“Although the U.S. forces are combat-equipped, they will only be providing information, advice, and assistance to partner nation forces,” he said. “They will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense. All appropriate precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of US military personnel during their deployment.”
Some of the U.S. troops have already deployed to the east African nation of 33 million people. Others will leave over the next month.
The LRA, a U.S.-designated terror group, is a particularly brutal bunch, fond of terrorizing, kidnapping, torturing, raping and murdering innocent civilians in four nations but mostly in northern Uganda. The rebels have been fighting against the government in Kampala since 1987. Tens of thousands have died. LRA leader Joseph Kony calls himself God’s “spokesperson” and fancies himself the embodiment of the Holy Spirit. His goal was once the establishment of a Christian theocracy, but lately there has been less of a political agenda.
The LRA often kidnaps children who are then forced to become soldiers. But the Obama administration also supports the use of child soldiers in Africa; earlier this month, the President granted waivers from the Child Soldiers Prevention Act to four countries that use soldiers under the age of 15– Yemen, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad, allowing them to receive U.S. military aid despite this deplorable practice.
Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court.
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