U.S. Special Forces Troops Deployed in 4 African Nations to Fight Lord’s Resistance Army Christian Extremists
Last November, the Obama administration announced that the United States was deploying around 100 U.S. troops, mostly Special Forces, to Uganda to “advise” the militaries of nations allied to Washington in the so-called “War on Terror” in their fight against the Christian terrorist group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Now the top U.S. Special Forces commander in Africa says American troops involved in the anti-LRA mission are based in four African nations— Uganda, Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
“We’ve already seen a decrease in the lethality of LRA activities, which we think is attributable in part to the pressure we and our partners are applying,” Rear Adm. Brian L. Losey told reporters.
The main objective of the anti-LRA effort is the capture of the terror group’s leader, Joseph Kony, who is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity. Since forming in the 1980’s, Kony’s LRA has terrorized Uganda and people throughout Central Africa. U.S. State Department official Karl Wycoff says the LRA is guilty of “horrible atrocities,” including the torture and slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians and the kidnapping of children to be forced into the ranks of LRA fighters or sexual slavery.
What is the LRA fighting for? Many observers concur that the group, which Wycoff calls “some kind of cult,” doesn’t seem to be motivated by any specific political agenda. Vincent Otti, Kony’s former deputy who is presumed killed– probably on Kony’s orders on suspicion he was about to defect– once described the LRA’s raison d’être to the IRIN news agency:
“Lord’s Resistance Army is just the name of the movement, because we are fighting in the name of God. God is the one helping us in the bush. That’s why we created this name, Lord’s Resistance Army. And people always ask us, are we fighting for the [biblical] Ten Commandments of God. That is true – because the Ten Commandments of God is the constitution that God has given to the people of the world. All people. If you go to the constitution, nobody will accept people who steal, nobody could accept to go and take somebody’s wife, nobody could accept to innocently kill, or whatever. The Ten Commandments carries all this.”
Many U.S. Christians are quick to declare that the LRA aren’t “real Christians,” but those same folks have much difficulty accepting notions that Islamic extremists such as al-Qaeda aren’t “real Muslims.”
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