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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid