The United States sent about 90 troops to Cameroon in mid-October, with President Barack Obama informing Congress that up to 300 more would soon follow, to "conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations in the region." He said that they would be armed for "their own force protection and security" and that they would remain in the central African country "until their support is no longer needed."
The White House did not provide further public clarification on the troop deployment, but U.S. officials granted anonymity by various press outlets characterized the mission as part of the multinational campaign against Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group based in Nigeria. The task force includes troops from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria. A statement from the Defense Department said the U.S. personnel were being deployed at the invitation of the Cameroon government.