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Lord's Resistance Army Officer in Custody in DRC

A high-ranking member of Ugandan rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army is being held in the Congolese capital Kinshasa, after giving himself up to Congolese authorities, a U.N. spokesman says. For VOA, Noel King has more in this report from Kigali.

Opiyo Makasi served as the chief of operations for the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army, before surrendering to Congolese police, in early October.

U.N. Congo Mission spokesman Kemal Saiki told VOA the United Nations has asked for Makasi to be returned to his native Uganda.

"We have asked for him to be handed over because we do have a program of demobilization, disarmament and repatriation and normally, he should be repatriated," said Saiki.

Saiki said Uganda has programs to reintegrate former LRA members into their communities.

It is unclear what, if any, penalty Masaki will face for his involvement with the LRA.

According to Ugandan news reports, Masaki was abducted by the LRA and forced to join the rebel army at the age of 12.

The Lord's Resistance Army has waged a two-decade war in northern Uganda, under the leadership of Joseph Kony, a self-proclaimed mystic. His forces are accused of the widespread abduction of children, and the torture and mutilation of those Kony believes to be adversaries.

The LRA rebellion has spilled over into southern Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, killing tens of thousands and displacing more than 1.5 million people, mostly in Uganda.

Kony and three senior members of the LRA are wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, for war crimes including murder, rape and recruitment of children. Makasi was not among the four wanted by the ICC.

U.N. spokesman Saiki said he does not recall another case of an LRA officer surrendering to authorities.