US President Barack Obama has announced that United States troops have been sent to help combat against Islamist militant Boko Haram.
The 300 strong army, equipped with surveillance drones, will partner with West African forces to counter Boko Haram militants.
The US forces will carry out airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations in the region.
Mr Obama has confirmed that the US military presence will remain in Cameroon until “no longer needed”, and all troops will be “equipped with weapons for the purpose of providing their own force protection and security”.
His letter to Congress on Wednesday confirmed that 90 military personnel were deployed to Cameroon on Monday, with the arrival of additional troops set to follow.
A Defence Department spokesman informed Al Jazeera in a statement that US involvement in reconnaissance flights will improve the ability of vulnerable African nations to secure borders against violence and illegal activities, which disrupt stability in the region.
“Most importantly, all information collected by US unarmed remotely piloted aircraft is used to support international counter-violent extremist organisation operations,” the statement said.
US officials have reported that the US presence is central to providing intelligence to a multi-national task force set up to fight Boko Haram.
This multi-national task force is currently a combined army of troops from Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Benin.
Since its absorption into Islamic State (IS), Boko Haram has proven to be a dominant force, despite military operations from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria aimed at weakening the the group’s presence in the region. – Samantha Barrie
Top image of Boko Haram fighters in Africa from Al Jazeera’s Inside Story.