US Troops to Fight Lord's Resistance Army: Who is Joseph Kony?
US Troops Sent to Central Africa Against LRA
US President Barack Obama is sending 100 US troops to South Sudan in order to fight the Lord's Resistance Army, a Christian militant group active in the region.
[We expect the Kony 2012 meme to draw a bit more attention to this story.]
The US troops deployed to Central Africa are meant to serve as support forces for partner nations' armies, and not to engage in combat unless in self-defense.
What is the Lord's Resistance Army?
The Lord's Resistance Army is a sectarian militant group that operates in South Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. The Lord's Resistance Army is led by Joseph Kony, who claims to be a spokesman for God.
The LRA seeks to establish a theocratic government in the region, and has been a thorn in the side of Central African stability for decades. This is not the first time the US has intervened, though: the Ugandan army had American support when it tried to stamp out Kony's forces in 2009. Uganda was unsuccessful, and has been suffering reprisal attacks ever since.
Joseph Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, including murder, sexual enslavement, and rape. The LRA has abducted thousands of children, who have then been used as soldiers and sex slaves.
Joseph Kony is a shadowy figure whose exact whereabouts are unknown. His dozens of wives have shared stories of Kony's brutality.
US action in Central Africa has been in the pipeline for nearly a year. Why now, though? Joseph Kony's LRA has been active for over 20 years, and yet many Western readers will only be hearing his name for the first time now.
The most likely answer: economics.
South Sudan has only recently become an independent nation, and is rich in oil. The US has a vested interest in the area's stability, as it can become a hotbed of investment and development.