US Deploys Troops to CameroonNovember 15, 2015 in Cameroon
United States President Barack Obama informed Congress on Wednesday that he will deploy up to 300 personnel to Cameroon for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations against Boko Haram insurgents.
In a letter that was released by the White House, President Obama disclosed that ninety personnel have already been deployed, which marks a modest but significant escalation of US involvement in the fight against the terrorist group, which earlier this year aligned itself with the Islamic State (IS) group. In making Wednesday’s announcement, the White House stressed that personnel will not take part in combat operations and would be armed only for self-defense. According to White House press secretary Josh Earnest, they are being sent under an arrangement with the Cameroonian government to conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations in the region. US officials have disclosed that the focus will still be on a regional coalition that has tried to keep a once regional Muslim anti-colonial movement from metastasizing into a regional jihadist threat. In the statement, the president indicated that the mission will last “until their support is no longer needed.”
While Washington has largely shied away from engaging its vast military assets to combat Boko Haram, the White House decision comes as Boko Haram steadily expands operations beyond its traditional base in northern Nigeria, crossing into neighboring Cameroon and Niger.