[QODLink]
Africa
US troops to help Uganda fight rebels
Obama says 100 combat-equipped troops will help in hunt for Lord's Resistance Army's wanted leader Joseph Kony.
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2011 03:52
The LRA was formed in 1987 and is engaged in an armed rebellion against the Ugandan government [EPA]

US President Barack Obama has announced he is deploying 100 "combat-equipped" troops to Uganda to help efforts against rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), who have been accused of grievous human rights abuses over the course of a decades-long insurgency.

The US troops, subject to the approval of national authorities, could also deploy from Uganda into South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of the Congo, Obama said in a message to Congress.

LRA rebels are accused of murdering, raping and kidnapping thousands of people in those four nations. Tens of thousands of people have died in their 20-year war in northern Uganda.

Obama said the US troops would act as advisors to local forces with the goal of removing LRA leader Joseph Jony and other senior leaders from the battlefield. But he said they would not lead the fighting themselves.

"Although the US forces are combat-equipped, they will only be providing information, advice, and assistance to partner nation forces," Obama said.

"They will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defence. All appropriate precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of US military personnel during their deployment."

The president said a small group of troops deployed on Wednesday and that additional forces would deploy over the next month.

Kony is accused of war crimes and is wanted by the International Criminal Court.

The civil war effectively ended in 2006 when a peace process was launched, but Kony and his top commanders are accused of continuing to commit atrocities in remote areas of neighbouring countries.

General Carter Ham, the head of US Africa Command, said last week that his best estimate was that Kony was probably in the Central African Republic.

Jendayi Frazer, former assistant secretary of state for African affairs in the administration of George W Bush, told Al Jazeera that the LRA had destabilised the region and posed a threat to US allies and American national security.

Kony's men had attacked international peacekeepers and local communities and threatened the newly created nation of South Sudan, Frazer said.

"It's again undermining a nation that the United States is strongly invested in its stability and its democratic progress," she said.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
A former rebel's museum keeps alive memories of the July 26, 1953 veterans who launched Cuba's revolution.
A revolutionary new treatment is halving hospitalisation rates for severe asthma sufferers.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
join our mailing list