Obama Sending 100 Armed Advisers to Africa to Help Fight Renegade Group

Posted: October 14, 2011 in US News, World News

Rick Gladstone
The New York Times
October 14, 2011

President Obama said Friday that he had ordered the deployment of 100 armed military advisers to central Africa to help regional forces combat the Lord’s Resistance Army, a notorious renegade group that has terrorized villagers in at least four countries with marauding bands that kill, rape, maim and kidnap with impunity.

The deployment represents a muscular escalation of American military efforts to help fight the Lord’s Resistance Army, which originated as a Ugandan rebel force in the 1980s and morphed into a fearsome cult-like group of fighters. It is led by Joseph Kony, a self-proclaimed prophet known for ordering village massacres, recruiting prepubescent soldiers, keeping harems of child brides and mutilating opponents.

“For more than two decades, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has murdered, raped and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women and children in central Africa,” Mr. Obama wrote in a letter to Congress announcing the military deployment. “The LRA continues to commit atrocities across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan that have a disproportionate impact on regional security.”

Mr. Obama’s decision to deploy armed advisers into the region also raises the risk of putting American military personnel in harm’s way. Mr. Obama wrote that he had decided to act because it was “in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.”

Mr. Obama also wrote that the deployment was justified by a law passed by Congress in May 2010, the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, which favored “increased, comprehensive U.S. efforts to help mitigate and eliminate the threat posed by the LRA to civilians and regional stability.”

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