Uganda army confirms rebel LRA commander surrendered


Uganda’s army confirmed on Wednesday that U.S. and African forces in the Central African Republic were holding a senior commander from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a guerrilla group known for its brutal attacks on people in the region.

The U.S. State Department, which announced on Tuesday that a man claiming to be Dominic Ongwen had surrendered and that his identity was being verified, said Ongwen’s detention would be a “historic blow” to the LRA’s command structure.
“We can now confirm he’s the one, and we can also confirm he’s in our custody at our base in Obo,” said Paddy Ankunda, Uganda’s military spokesman. “We think he was just tired of bush life and simply turned himself in.”

U.S. forces have backed a regional force of African troops since 2011 trying to track down Joseph Kony, the leader of the LRA. Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in a guerrilla war in Uganda and neighbouring countries.

LRA fighters are known for using extreme violence, including chopping off limbs as a form of punishment, as well as raping young girls and abducting them for use as sex slaves.

The Washington-based human rights group Enough Project said Ongwen was abducted by the LRA at the age of 10 while on his way to school and quickly rose in its ranks.

In 2005, the ICC indicted Ongwen on seven counts, including crimes against humanity and murder, pillaging and enslavement, according to the Enough Project.