Uganda captures LRA commander

Ugandan troops have captured a senior Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel officer, the highest ranking prisoner taken in a controversial offensive against guerrillas in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Thomas Kwoyelo arrived in Uganda by plane on Wednesday, barefoot and nursing bullet wounds to his stomach. Reuters adds he is not one of three senior rebels wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.
“We just bumped into (Uganda’s army) somewhere, and that was it,” Kwoyelo said of his capture, sitting in an ambulance at a military airport 40 km (25 miles) from the capital.
A Ugandan military spokesman said Kwoyelo was captured a day earlier in the forests of neighboring northeastern Congo.
“This man has been in the bush for quiet long. He knows the tactics, he knows the methods, he knows the sources of weapons,” Captain Kiconco Tabaro told reporters.
“He has been one of our most wanted commanders. Once he recovers, then we expect a lot from him.”
Ugandan troops led an assault on LRA hide-outs in mid-December but have failed to catch the group’s elusive leader, Joseph Kony, or either of his two indicted deputies.
In reprisal for the offensive, the rebels have attacked Congolese villages, massacring more than 900 people.
“Kwoyelo will be replaced. Kony is the person of relevance. The other positions are immediately filled by the younger commanders,” Ugandan analyst Angelo Izama told Reuters.
Ugandan soldiers in a festive mood at the airport helped Kwoyelo out of an old cargo plane. The guerrilla wore a faded military jacket, buttoned to cover his injuries.
Kwoyelo said the rebels had split into three groups but he did not know the fate of the leaders.
Kony’s two-decade rebellion against the Ugandan government has killed tens of thousands of people, driven some 2 million from their homes and destabilized a swathe of central Africa.
Last year, the LRA leader refused to sign a peace deal thrashed out in two years of talks in neighboring south Sudan, prompting the military offensive.
Aid workers accuse Kampala, Kinshasa and UN peacekeepers in Congo of failing to protect civilians from LRA reprisals.