In October, President Barack Obama announced the deployment of 100 US Army Special Forces to central Africa to advise the militaries of Uganda, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Democratic Republic of Congo in operations aimed at removing the leadership of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Although not intended to engage the LRA directly, the deployed troops are combat-equipped for their own protection.
The Lord’s Resistance Army is led by the charismatic Joseph Kony, who launched a rebellion to establish a theocratic government in Uganda. The Lord’s Resistance Army has killed more than 100,000 people across central Africa and has abducted tens of thousands of children to work as soldiers, porters, cooks, and sex slaves. The Lord’s Resistance Army often forces abducted children to kill members of their community to indoctrinate them as soldiers. A 2008 joint operation by the militaries of South Sudan, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo called Operation Lightning Thunder failed to achieve its objective to capture or kill LRA leadership. In retaliation for the operation, the LRA massacred almost a thousand civilians and captured 160 children in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is hoped that training by Army Special Forces will better equip the militaries in their future efforts to capture or kill the leadership of the LRA. For more information on what US troops are doing to stop the Lord’s Resistance Army watch the following video from Al Jazeera: