Obama Sends Soldiers to Help Hunt Down Joseph Kony

Marie-Paul Kimakosa lost most of her family to the LRA.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfam/5984594095/">Photo: Simon Rawles/Oxfam</a>/Flickr

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.


Just two weeks after his administration again waived military-aid restrictions on African countries where child soldiers fight and die, Obama says he is sending 100 US troops to central Africa to help regional armies hunt down war criminal Joseph Kony and other Lord’s Resistance Army leaders.

“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,” Obama said in a letter addressed to Speaker of the House John Boehner.

US soldiers will have a limited role in the operation—they are there to give “information, advice, and assistance,” and are not to engage in combat unless it’s necessary for self-defense.

This move comes a little over a year after Obama signed the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, a bill promising that the US would do more to end the violent rule of Kony and the LRA in parts of Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

What makes Kony such a target? Though a far less visible international figure than, say, Muammar Gaddafi, he’s the top leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army and one of the world’s six most-feared war criminals. His guerrilla army has a track record of violent human rights violations that include killing or kidnapping at least 6,000 people and displacing around 400,000 in just the past three years. Started in Uganda, it has been operating since 1987.

The LRA is also notorious for forcing kidnapped children to become child soldiers and using rape as a war tactic. Over the past two decades, Kony has enlisted an estimated 25,000 child soldiers from Northen Uganda.

“The Lord’s Resistance Army preys on civilians—killing, raping, and mutilating the people of central Africa; stealing and brutalizing their children; and displacing hundreds of thousands of people,” Obama wrote in a statement released in May 2010 after he signed the aforementioned bill. “We must all renew our commitments…to support efforts to bring the LRA leadership to justice.”

A year later, Obama has taken a step to fulfill his promise.

A group of human rights organizations, including Resolve, the Enough Project, and Invisible Children, are applauding Obama’s action. “By deploying these advisers, President Obama is showing decisive leadership to help regional governments finally bring an end to the LRA’s mass atrocities,” said Paul Ronan, Resolve’s Director of Advocacy.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate