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, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.