It’s taken years of determined lobbying by international aid groups, but the Pentagon is finally deploying 100 combat troops to do battle with Ugandan cult leader Joseph Kony and his brutal Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group in Central Africa. “These forces will act as advisers to partner forces that have the goal of removing from the battlefield Joseph Kony and other senior leadership of the LRA,” President Barack Obama said Friday.
The LRA has its roots in a bloody civil war in Uganda in the 1980s and ’90s. Chased out of their home country by the army and angry civilians, the pseudo-religious LRA spent a few years doing the bidding of Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir before international pressure ended that arrangement and the LRA fled south into the thick, roadless forest of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo and southern Central African Republic.
In 20 years of violence, the LRA has killed or maimed tens of thousands of people, kidnapped many more and displaced millions. The group abducts children and forces them to kill, ultimately brainwashing them into serving Kony. The rebels keep young girls as sex slaves and other captives as laborers.