President Obama is sending about 100 US troops to central Africa to help track down Joseph Kony, the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army, he told Congress today. Obama said that LRA “has murdered, raped, and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women and children in central Africa,” and that taking out its leader “furthers US national security interests and foreign policy,” according to CNN. The troops will advise regional forces, but won’t directly engage the LRA “unless necessary for self-defense.”
To justify the move, Obama cited the Uganda Recovery Act of 2009, in which Congress supported “increased, comprehensive US efforts” against the LRA. An initial US team will arrive in Uganda with “appropriate combat equipment” on Wednesday, and will soon be followed by “a second combat-equipped team and associated headquarters, communications and logistics personnel.” He said that troops would also operate out of South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, assuming each nation agreed to host them. One group recently unveiled a website to track LRA atrocities.