Obama Orders 100 U.S. Combat Troops to Central Africa

October 14, 2011 - 2:37 PM

Obama

President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama has ordered the deployment of 100 “combat equipped” U.S. troops to Uganda and other central African nations, according to a letter the president sent to congressional leaders on Friday.

“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 wrote in his Oct. 14 letter.

Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group that operates in northern Uganda, southern Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Obama said the first set of troops were deployed in Uganda on Wednesday, Oct. 12, meaning he waited two days after the deployment before telling Congress about it on Friday--when many members had already left Washington, D.C.

Obama said the troops would act as “advisers” to regional military forces that have been battling the LRA for decades.

“These forces 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,” said Obama.  “Our forces will provide information, advice, and assistance to select partner nation forces. 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.”

"On October 12, the initial team of U.S. military personnel with appropriate combat equipment deployed to Uganda," Obama wrote.

"During the next month, additional forces will deploy, including a second combat-equipped team and associated headquarters, communications, and logistics personnel," said Obama.

"The total number of U.S. military personnel deploying for this mission is approximately 100," Obama said. "These forces 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. Our forces will provide information, advice, and assistance to select partner nation forces. 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," said Obama. "However, although the U.S. forces are combat equipped, they will only be providing information, advice, and assistance to partner nation forces, and they will not themselves 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."