President Barack Obama is sending about 100 U.S. troops to Africa to help hunt down the leaders of the notoriously violent Lord's Resistance Army in and around Uganda.
"I have authorized a small number of combat-equipped U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield," Obama said in letter sent Friday to House Speaker John Boehner and Daniel Inouye, the president pro tempore of the Senate. Kony is the head of the Lord's Resistance Army.
U.S. military personnel advising regional forces working to target Kony and other senior leaders will not engage Kony's forces "unless necessary for self-defense," Obama said.
"I believe 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."
Obama noted that the group "has murdered, raped, and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women and children in central Africa" and "continues to commit atrocities across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan that have a disproportionate impact on regional security."
Obama said the initial team of U.S. military personnel "with appropriate combat equipment" deployed to Uganda on Wednesday. Other forces deploying include "a second combat-equipped team and associated headquarters, communications and logistics personnel."
The U.S. troops backing the operation "are primarily comprised of Special Operations Forces," according to the Pentagon
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