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U.S. Commandos Fan Out In Remote Africa To Help Find Brutal Rebels
Old 12-08-2011, 06:24   #1
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U.S. Commandos Fan Out In Remote Africa To Help Find Brutal Rebels

This was also one of the first ops out of AFRICOM (17 Advisors) back in the spring of 2009.

My team went there in 1987; gut-wrenching poverty, ongoing slavery and 10 year old kids pointing an assortment of AKs at you.

McClatchy Newspapers (mcclatchydc.com), December 7, 2011
U.S. Commandos Fan Out In Remote Africa To Help Find Brutal Rebels
By Alan Boswell, McClatchy Newspapers

NAIROBI, Kenya — The U.S. military has dropped its first set of boots into the tropical overgrowth of central Africa, one of the most inaccessible areas of the world, to help fight a brutal rogue rebel group that's known for abducting children and mutilating the faces of victims.

The armed commandos aren't there to fight, only to help the Ugandan army hunt down the elusive Lord's Resistance Army and its legendary leader, Joseph Kony, officials say.

The U.S. special operations troops have arrived in the southeastern Central African Republic town of Obo since the beginning of the month, said a U.S. official in Kampala, Uganda, who wouldn't say how many troops were deployed. The official was allowed to talk only if he remained anonymous.
American troops have descended into what could be considered the most remote spot in Africa. Obo is only 10 miles from what's known technically as the continent's "pole of inaccessibility," the place that's the farthest removed from the ocean in any direction.

That geographic curse has left the wider area's inhabitants mostly ungoverned by weak national capitals hundreds of miles away, with few roads connecting them to the outside world. The area also is covered in thick green vegetation, which makes heavy transportation difficult.

Those factors have become a recipe for disaster, as Ugandan mystic rebel leader Kony scattered his many armed men across central Africa in late 2008 after a botched U.S.-backed Ugandan military operation known as "Operation Lightning Thunder."

Kony is thought to be in the southeastern region of the Central African Republic, and bands of his men roam across the northeastern portions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and southwestern South Sudan. The Ugandan military pursues them across national boundaries.

Altogether, the U.S. has plans to deploy 100 troops in the mission to help the Ugandan and other national armies kill or apprehend Kony, but most of those American personnel will be based in Kampala coordinating logistics and communications, the U.S. official said.

Those in the field will be there in an advisory and supporting role, and — although armed — are under orders not to fire unless it's necessary for self-defense. Deployments to other spots in the field will continue throughout December, the U.S. official said.

"They are primarily focused on sharing information, making sure that local commanders have the information that they need to act quickly and appropriately," the official said.

Congress passed a bill last year with rare bipartisan backing that requires President Barack Obama to report to lawmakers with a new strategy for ending the threat posed by the Lord's Resistance Army.

The bill was pushed through with heavy lobbying by a citizen advocacy movement that was mobilized by tales of the brutality Kony's men leave in their wake. Attacking random villages for food and sustenance, they abduct children, brainwashing the boys as child soldiers and taking the girls as "wives."

The rebel group, which originated as a northern Uganda cult and which the Sudanese government supported for years, tortures and maims villagers — or worse. Washington lists the group as a terrorist organization, and Kony has been indicted at the International Criminal Court.

The mission against the Lord's Resistance Army has no defined end date, but the U.S. official said he didn't think it was "open-ended" and that it would be re-evaluated constantly.

The Obama administration's counter-terrorism operations have featured the heavy use of aerial attacks by unmanned drones, a tactic used much more frequently now than it was under President George W. Bush, but Col. Felix Kulayigye, Uganda's military spokesman, dismissed the idea that such capabilities could finish off Kony.

"Air support in the equatorian forests means nothing," he said, referring to the dense tree cover in southern South Sudan and across the region, which has allowed Kony and his men to thrive for so long.
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:40   #2
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sounds interesting.
one question and one point for clarification:
Q: Anyone know anything about this botched mission?
" . . . as Ugandan mystic rebel leader Kony scattered his many armed men across central Africa in late 2008 after a botched U.S.-backed Ugandan military operation known as "Operation Lightning Thunder."
PoC: How is "mystic rebel leader Kony" a Threat to the USA? and exactly how is a bad situation at the "Pole of Inaccessability" a vital US National concern?
Congress passed a bill last year with rare bipartisan backing that requires President Barack Obama to report to lawmakers with a new strategy for ending the threat posed by the Lord's Resistance Army.
Did I say interesting? Sounds like the screenplay for Day of the Jackel II

Last edited by Dozer523; 12-08-2011 at 06:42.
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The Devil came on Horse Back
Old 12-08-2011, 07:09   #3
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The Devil came on Horse Back

Excellent documentry from 2007 "The Devil came on Horse Back" (on Netflix). It documents the Janjaweed in Sudan. If your referring to anything like that, I wish all well. You may have a job ahead of you.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:26   #4
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Operation Lightning Thunder sounds like it was TARFU...but nobody ever claims these multi-national affairs are an easy or a sure thing...


AFRICOM's Ugandan Blunder
FPIP, 20 Apr 2009

In early February, The New York Times released information detailing the involvement of the U.S. military in the bungled Ugandan mission to oust the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) from northeastern DR Congo. Seventeen military advisors from AFRICOM worked closely with the Ugandan People's Defense Forces (UPDF) to plan the attack, which the United States further subsidized through the donation of satellite phones and $1 million worth of fuel. Although the United States has been training the Ugandan military for years, this is the first time it has directly assisted in carrying out an operation.

News reports from the ground indicate that, largely because of the poorly executed military incursion, the LRA initiated a series of retaliatory attacks against Congolese civilians, killing nearly 1,000, displacing over 180,000 to date, and abducting hundreds of new child soldiers. Complaints also emerged that the Ugandan and Congolese forces involved in the operation did little if anything to protect civilians, leaving them vulnerable to the LRA's killing spree. By any reasonable definition, Operation Lightning Thunder was an abject military failure.

So why did General William Ward, commander of AFRICOM, consider the operation a success? He testified publicly that the operation has been "positive in so far as disrupting the activity of [LRA rebel leader Joseph] Kony," and "positive in addressing some of the training and recruiting practices that he and his element have performed."

Yes, the operation was conducted with cooperation from the Congolese and Southern Sudanese governments, which is indeed something to be celebrated. However, their involvement was minimal at best, and the Pentagon did more to help the UPDF plan their flawed strike than to encourage regional cooperation. General Ward even mistakenly said that it was DR Congo and Rwanda who joined Uganda in the operation, not Southern Sudan. Perhaps their participation was so small that it was forgettable, perhaps it was a slip of the tongue, or perhaps it was intentional. In any case, his statement that "Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo came together to look at a way to deal with the problem of the LRA" gave the impression that AFRICOM's commander knows less about African military operations than Jeffrey Gettleman at The New York Times.

General Ward made his statements at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on March 17, in front of a panel of senators. Members of Congress, who are often incapable of keeping up-to-date on Africa-related issues, accepted his words, though they were incorrect in many respects.

Having heard Ward's positive assessment of Operation Lightning Thunder, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) praised the effort as a "huge success," and remarked at how wonderful it is that Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda's President Paul Kagame both have military backgrounds. Museveni has received ample military support from the United States during his multi-decade rule, despite his intentional marginalization of northern Uganda. Kagame, meanwhile, received training at Fort Leavenworth only to go on to invade Eastern Congo.

The UPDF officially withdrew from DR Congo in mid-March, having accomplished nothing it set out to do. Kony remains in command of the LRA, and his forces continue to raid villages and abduct children. The LRA recently took 25 children from a village in northeastern DR Congo. Thus, not only was the initial attack deeply flawed, but the sustained military presence did nothing to stop LRA activity, despite what General Ward might have said.

AFRICOM is working very hard to downplay its role in the Ugandan operation, and to highlight the scant positive outcomes rather than to present the realities on the ground. This biased approach isn't only detrimental to historical record and to peace in the Great Lakes Region, but is a dangerous basis for future relations between the public, Congress, and the Pentagon on Africa issues.

“Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)… There are just some kind of men who – who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.” - To Kill A Mockingbird (Atticus Finch)

“Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.” - Robert Heinlein
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:48   #5
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Best of luck to these men. I spent a couple of weeks in DRC in '03 and that was enough to last me a lifetime.
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:06   #6
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Africa - great place and great people

But the leadership SUCKS.
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African leaders
Old 03-05-2012, 07:33   #7
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African leaders

Years ago we sponsored an African leader at the Command and General Staff School. One of the finest, most intelligent men I have ever had the privilege to know. Our understanding is he was placed against a wall and shot. Too, too often this happens.
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:46   #8
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Old 09-28-2012, 20:56   #9
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I was one of the troops there in 2011. I am not very confident that the men we trained in uganda will be able to accomplish the mission we are looking for them to carry out.
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