Friday, the Obama Administration released a statement saying it is sending 132 “advisors” to Uganda to help dispand the vicious Christian terrorist group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and capture its leader Joseph Kony.
The Lord’s Resistance Army is one of the most brutal groups in Central Africa and is spread across Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Sudan. However, Ugandans have borne the brunt of the attacks since the LRA began their bloody campaign in 1987. Since 1988, the rebel group has been led by Joseph Kony, who believes he is a spiritual being and spokesman for God. The International Criminal Court has had a warrant for his arrest since 2005, but Kony continues to evade capture due to the assistance of some governments (namely Sudan) and sympathizers in the region.
The LRA is responsible for brutal mutilations, widespread rapes, murders, and the mass indoctrination of children who have been used to carry out much of the LRA’s attacks.
In 2010, President Obama signed the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009, which gave the President the authority to assist Uganda and other countries in the region in putting an end to the LRA.
“The Lord’s Resistance Army preys on civilians – killing, raping, and mutilating the people of central Africa; stealing and brutalizing their children; and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. Its leadership, indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, has no agenda and no purpose other than its own survival. It fills its ranks of fighters with the young boys and girls it abducts. By any measure, its actions are an affront to human dignity.”
This new mission includes 100 combat troops, and according to the President, will “provide information, advice and assistance” to African troops in the region. Mr. Obama continued, “Subject to the approval of each respective host nation, elements of these U.S. forces will deploy into Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The support provided by U.S. forces will enhance regional efforts against the LRA. ”
While some question why President Obama has decided to intervene now (although Pres. Bush tried and failed during his term as president), others welcome the U.S.’s intervention to end the LRA’s attacks.
Henry Okello Oryem, Uganda’s acting foreign minister, told AFP wire service that “we welcome this gesture — it has been well overdue.”
What do you think of the President’s decision to send troops to Central Africa?