Obama sends U.S. military to help fight Lord’s Resistance Army

Obama sends U.S. military to help fight Lord’s Resistance Army
# 15 October 2011 02:17 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday that he has authorized some 100 U.S. military personnel to be deployed to Uganda and other Central African nations to help fight the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

"On Oct. 12, the initial team of U.S. military personnel with appropriate combat equipment deployed to Uganda," Obama said in a letter to Congress leaders.

He said that during the next month, additional forces will deploy, including a second combat-equipped team and associated headquarters, communications, and logistics personnel.

"The total number of U.S. military personnel deploying for this mission is approximately 100," the president said, noting that they 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 said that elements of the U.S. forces will also deploy into South Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with their consent.

"The support provided by U.S. forces will enhance regional efforts against the LRA," he said, stressing that the U.S. forces will only be providing information, advice and assistance to partner nation forces, and will not engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense.

"All appropriate precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of U.S. military personnel during their deployment," he added.

The LRA was formed in the late 1980s and for over 15 years its attacks were mainly directed against Ugandan civilians and security forces. But after being dislodged by Ugandan forces in 2002, it exported its rampage to the country’s neighbors, including the DRC, South Sudan and the CAR.

Obama noted that for more than two decades, the LRA "has murdered, raped and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women and children in Central Africa" and continues to commit atrocities across the CAR, the DRC and South Sudan that have a " disproportionate impact on regional security."

Since 2008, the U.S. has supported regional military efforts to pursue the LRA and protect local communities.

"Even with some limited U.S. assistance, however, regional military efforts have thus far been unsuccessful in removing LRA leader Joseph Kony or his top commanders from the battlefield," 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," he added.