Uganda's government has described the
capture of a senior member of the notorious Lord Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group as a successful harvest.
The Uganda army
recently captured Atyak Okot who is the bodyguard of the LRA leader Joseph Kony in
neighboring Central African Republic.
The army often accused Okot of playing a
pivotal role in the massacre of more than 200 Ugandans at a Gulu, northern
Uganda camp for the displaced in 1995.
has been fighting the Ugandan government for more than two decades killing and
maiming thousands in their insurgency.
Uganda cabinet minister Okello Oryem said that information from the captured Okot could lead
to the arrest of the LRA rebel leader Kony.
has been a successful harvest by the UPDF (Ugandan Peoples Defense Forces) and
this is the beginning of the end of the LRA. We will continue pursuing the LRA
leadership and high command to its very end," Oryem said.
said the army aims to capture the LRA rebel leader.
UPDF is determined to follow up, pursuing Joseph Kony to the very end, either
by capturing him or putting him out of action," he said.
said the elusive rebel leader has been hiding in the jungles.
"The terrain in which we are
looking for Joseph Kony is so dense, so wide, and impenetrable it is the
biggest vegetation area on earth. That is the area between the DRC and Central
African Republic, and it is almost like looking for a needle in a haystack,"
He said the government is
backed by neighboring countries in the hunt for the elusive LRA leader.
"The regional cooperation is
holding on, is very strong, (and) we are getting full cooperation from the army
of the DRC….We have got the full cooperation from the SPLA (Sudan People's
Liberation Army) to ensure that the LRA doesn't go into Sudan," he said.
Oryem described as momentous
the capture of the rebel.
"This capture is very
significant because Okot is a very close bodyguard of Joseph Kony. He has been
with Joseph Kony for over 20 years. He knows Joseph Kony's style, his thinking,
and his methods. Hence, we think that he is going to help us shorten the time
within which we will capture Kony," Oryem said.
He said the government wants
peace despite the refusal of the rebel leader to sign the accord.
"Joseph Kony still has the
opportunity to sign the final peace agreement. If he comes out in public by
making a phone call to President Joachim Chissano, who is the special
representative of the U.N … we will give him a safe passage which will enable
him to sign the final peace agreement," he said.
Oryem said the government is
still fully prepared to implement the agreement it signed with the rebels in
the Southern Sudanese capital, Juba last year.