President Barack Obama has directed additional Special Operations forces to assist the hunt for Joseph Kony, the leader of the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army.
The White House noted that “a limited number of CV-22 Ospreys” will be deployed to bolster existing American support to the Ugandan government as it searches for Kony.
National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden explained that the aircraft will be based in Uganda and will be available for deployments to the Central African Republic, Congo, and South Sudan. “Our African partners have consistently identified airlift as one of their greatest limiting factors as they search for and pursue the remaining LRA leaders across a wide swath of one of the world’s poorest, least governed, and most remote regions,” said Hayden.
“The LRA is one of the world’s most notorious atrocity perpetrators. For nearly three decades, the LRA has displaced, maimed, and terrorized innocent people across four countries, including abducting tens of thousands of children and forcing them to become sex slaves or child soldiers and to commit unspeakable acts.”
The CV-22 Ospreys are expected in Uganda “by midweek,” according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs Amanda Dory. They will be accompanied by refueling aircraft and approximately 150 Air Force Special Operations members and other airmen. Their role will be to “provide information, advice and assistance”; U.S. forces are not authorized to engage militarily with the LRA unless in self-defense.
The White House began notifying Congress — in accordance with the War Powers Act — on Sunday about the president’s ordered deployment.