News Briefly: Operations in Africa, disarming nation's deadliest nukes

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Officials testify that operations in Africa would only last for months

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military operation against the Lord’s Resistance Army in Africa is a short-term deployment, Obama administration officials insisted on Tuesday.

Facing skeptical members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, officials said the roughly 100 American troops, mostly U.S. Army Special Forces, had been dispatched to central Africa as advisers to regional forces pursuing the LRA.

Alexander Vershbow, the assistant secretary of Defense for international security affairs, said the guerrilla group had been reduced to about 200 core fighters in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan.

Pressed by lawmakers for a timetable, Vershbow said he couldn’t offer any specifics, but “we’re talking months. We will review in a few months.”

Long considered one of Africa’s most brutal rebel groups, the LRA began its attacks in Uganda more than 20 years ago but has been pushing westward. Human rights groups say its atrocities have left thousands dead and have forced as many as 300,000 Africans to flee. They have charged the group with seizing children to bolster its ranks of soldiers and sometimes forcing them to become sex slaves.

Last of nation’s deadliest nukes disarmed to ensure our survival

AMARILLO — The last of the nation’s most powerful nuclear bombs has been taken apart in Texas.

Technicians at the Pantex Plant near Amarillo removed the uranium Tuesday from the last of the nation’s largest nuclear bombs, a Cold War relic known as the B53 — which was over 600 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.