US President Donald Trump says the Pentagon has deployed 80 US troops to Gabon to secure American citizens and the US embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after a presidential election there last week.
In a letter to Congress on Friday, Trump said the troops were deployed “in response to the possibility that violent demonstrations may occur” in the wake of the election in the Congo.
Trump’s letter said the personnel arrived in Gabon on Wednesday and additional forces may be deployed “if necessary.”
US military personnel “will remain in the region until the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo becomes such that their presence is no longer needed,” the letter added.
The Congo general election was mostly held in a peaceful atmosphere despite incidents of violence, according to a preliminary report by African election observers.
Congo’s electoral commission is scheduled to release provisional results of the presidential election on Sunday.
Congo’s government says the election was fair and went smoothly but the opposition says the election was marred by serious irregularities.
The international community has raised concerns that a disputed result could cause unrest, as was the case after the 2006 and 2011 elections.
The US military has in recent years used the presence of Takfiri terrorists to build up its presence across Africa, where it reportedly has over 6,000 boots on the ground.