News / Africa

LRA Rebels Surrender to Ugandan Army

A Ugandan soldier tracking down Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) fugitive leaders takes position behind a machine gun at a forest bordering Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, near river Chinko, (File photo).
A Ugandan soldier tracking down Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) fugitive leaders takes position behind a machine gun at a forest bordering Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, near river Chinko, (File photo).
Peter Clottey
The spokesman for Uganda’s People’s Defense Force (UPDF), says 19 fighters from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have surrendered following intense international pressure on the rebel group.

Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda said the rebels are in the custody of the Ugandan army in the Central African Republic (CAR) where they defected from the LRA. 

“They came with nine rifles and these include nine children. Currently, we are with them at our detaching center in the [CAR], and we are providing them with psychosocial rehabilitation and medical assistance as we prepare to work together with other agencies to repatriate them back to Uganda,” said Ankunda. “We would be working together with all those who are willing to help us in the effort of rescuing the children.”

Uganda has 2,500 soldiers supported by some “few” troops from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as part of an effort to end the LRA rebellion, according to Ankunda.
                              
                    International support

In October 2011, President Barack Obama ordered the deployment of about 100 US soldiers to Uganda to help regional forces hunt down the leaders of the LRA.

The UPDF is cooperating with the regional task force of the African Union-led Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA).

The rebels are accused of widespread murder, rape, and pillage in several countries including Uganda and the Central African Republic.

Ankunda said the defection is a boost to international efforts to end the violence. He hailed US support in the quest to end the insurgency.

“[It’s] very significant, particularly that the United States has been supporting our efforts to rescue children who are being held in captivity in the hands of the LRA, and those who are still vulnerable to attacks by the LRA,” said Ankunda.

The group of 19 LRA fighters becomes the first to surrender to the UPDF since 2008, according to Ankunda.

“This is the first group as big as this.  [It] is very critical. It tells you about the strength of the LRA, and it tells you that they are running out of steam,” said Ankunda. “Obviously, we [will] be putting much pressure [by] working with the United Nations to ensure that the LRA [is defeated].”

                    Surrender talks

Recently, officials of the CAR said they held peace talks aimed at having the LRA surrender. But, representatives of the Ugandan government expressed skepticism. Previous negotiations between the LRA and the Uganda government failed to end rebel violence.

“What is important here is to continue to exert pressure on the Lord’s Resistance Army,” said Ankunda. “We encourage efforts by the Central African Republic to try and engage the LRA in peace talks. We’ve done that before and we know what it is, but we need to encourage whoever is willing to engage the LRA in peace, in dialogue. But we have to remember that these are killers.”

Ankunda said that the UPDDF is hopeful that more African countries will contribute troops to help in the fight to end the LRA rebellion.

“We hope that other African countries will join in this effort, and make sure that we strengthen the African Union Regional Task Force to make sure that we bring that part of Africa to stability,” said Ankunda.

Asked whether those who surrender will face prosecution for alleged atrocities committed during the rebellion, Ankunda said the plan is to ensure the rebels return safely to Uganda.

“We are planning that next week they should be back in Uganda, and we are working with other agencies [like] International Organization for Migration,” said Ankunda. “The plan is that they should come back home because they are all Ugandans, and so that should be worked out as soon as possible.”
Clottey interview with Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, Ugandan army spokesman
Clottey interview with Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, Ugandan army spokesmani
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Nicholas Pica from: NYC
December 13, 2013 12:22 AM
Thanks u am mr nicholas your story was needed

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid