Why the US is sending troops to Uganda

TheGRIO REPORT - The deployment is the biggest effort by the U.S. to eradicate the cult-like group the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), known for its campaign of terror in central Africa ...

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Last week President Barack Obama notified Congress that he’s sending about 100 combat-equipped troops to help the forces of Uganda and neighboring countries to fight the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its leader Joseph Kony.

The deployment is the biggest effort by the U.S. to eradicate the cult-like group, known for its campaign of terror in central Africa.

Joseph Kony is the charismatic leader and self-proclaimed prophet of the group, which has been active for more than two decades. He is considered responsible for the ordering of village massacres, recruiting child soldiers, keeping harems of child brides and mutilating opponents.

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The U.S. military operation will consist of two combat units, which will only use force in self-defense. American troops will be based in Uganda, and from there, deploy to bordering countries including the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Southern Sudan.

In all, the LRA has been active in five countries with a scattered force that numbers only in the hundreds. The order by President Obama is in compliance with legislation passed in 2009, calling on the White House to lay out a strategy to protect civilians, capture or kill the LRA leader, Kony, and to improve humanitarian access to the region.

Karl Bostic, of NBC News’ London bureau, spoke with Thomas Cargill, the assistant head of the Africa Program at Chatham House, a London-based think tank, about the pending deployment, and its significance for the region and the U.S.