THE United States has de­ployed troops to Cameroon to help fight Boko Haram.

U.S. personnel began de­ploying on Monday under an arrangement with the Camer­oon government, according to reports.An administration official said on condition of anonym­ity that an advance force of 90 military personnel has ar­rived in Cameroon. A total of up to about 300 U.S. service members will be deployed.

The forces will be con­ducting airborne intel­ligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations, the official said, adding they would be armed for their own protection. Obama no­tified House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a letter. The White House released the letter Wednesday.

The White House said yes­terday that the troops will be armed to defend themselves, not to engage in combat and will stay in Cameroon until they are no longer needed. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the deploy­ment is part of an effort to conduct airborne intelligence gathering in support of ef­forts to counter violent ex­tremists in the region.

Cameroon has been bat­tling Boko Haram militants. Early this week, two female suicide bombers suspected to be members of the militant group killed nine people near the town of Mora in Camer­oon’s Far North region. At the weekend, five suicide bombers had killed dozens in a part of Chad that borders Nigeria.