Barack Obama deploys 300 US troops to Cameroon to help combat terrorist group Boko Haram
Washington has announced it is sending about 300 troops to Cameroon, as it steps up its effort to counter the terrorist group Boko Haram.
President Barack Obama said 90 out of the 300 troops had already been deployed, marking a modest but significant escalation of US involvement in the fight.
The move is part of a regional effort to counter violent extremists, including the Islamic State-allied Boko Haram.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the deployment would focus on conducting airborne surveillance and reconnaissance operations.
“They are armed but for purpose of force protection and their own security. They won’t be there in a combat role,” he said.
“It will be part of a broader regional effort to stop the spread of Boko Haram and other violent extremist organisations in West Africa.”
A number of West and Central African countries have been targeted by Islamist militants in recent times as they expand their operations beyond their traditional bases in northern Nigeria.
In a letter released by the White House, Mr Obama said the mission would last “until their support is no longer needed”.
An surge in violence is expected in the coming weeks with the end of the rainy season and amid growing resistance to a nascent multi-national joint task force.
Cameroon has been among those coalition countries hit.
Twin suicide blasts on Sunday killed at least nine people and injured 29 in far northern Cameroon.
Those attacks came a day after triple explosions in Chad left 41 dead.
Both countries are part of a regional coalition that has been fighting the militants.