Mineral resources are behind U.S. interest in Africa
By Nile Bowie
KUALA LUMPUR – As public interest in African affairs briefly found a place in mainstream talking points following a controversial viral video campaign about Ugandan rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), both the United States and the African Union are mobilizing military forces to Central Africa to counter further threats to civilian safety posed by the group.
Following the US deployment of one hundred military personnel to Uganda in 2011, the African Union has recently announced the deployment of a 5,000-solider brigade to LRA affected areas, tasked with pursuing the group and its leader, Joseph Kony. 
In the United States, a new bill co-authored by U.S. Representative Edward Royce has been introduced to the Congress calling for the further expansion of regional military forces into the nations of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic and the newly formed South Sudan. 
Although the Lord’s Resistance Army has been accused of recruiting child soldiers and conducting crimes against humanity throughout its two-decade campaign for greater autonomy against the Ugandan government, the group is presently comprised of less than four hundred soldiers  and remains a questionable threat.
Meanwhile, China’s deepening economic engagement in Africa and its crucial role in developing the mining and industrial sectors of several nations is reportedly creating “deep nervousness” in the West, according to David Shinn, former US ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.