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

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora