Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The photo above, by Peter Martell, of the UN's humanitarian news agency, IRIN, contradicts claims by the Uganda army that subcommanders in the Lord's Resistance Army want to surrender.

Led by the self-proclaimed prophet and spirit medium, Josephy Kony, the LRA has been on bloody rampage the past six weeks in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

At least 700 people, all innocent civilians, have been killed as revenge against a Dec. 14 attack on LRA camps in the DRC's Garamba National Park by the Ugandan army.

Pictured above are children now in South Sudan who have fled the LRA, some of whom were forced by the LRA to watch as their parents were hacked to death.

"The LRA [Lord's Resistance Army] attacked our village of Diko [on 4 January], taking 10 people with them," Saleh Sebit, a village elder, told IRIN. "We do not know where they are, and we fear they are now dead."

One eight-year-old boy said he was forced to watch rebel fighters chop the legs and arms off his father and a companion, before they beat the men to death with a wooden club, IRIN was told.

"The LRA attacked two tractors as [they were] coming with people to Mundiri," added Sebit. "They fired, killing one, and set fire to the vehicles."

Sebit and the boy are just two of an estimated 8,000 people displaced in a recent upsurge of attacks on farming villages in Sudan's Western Equatoria state. Many of the displaced, according to state officials, are now staying with relatives, according to IRIN.

These attacks also question the claims by the government of South Sudan that it has "closed" its border with the DRC, in an effort to prevent the LRA from entering the country and killing civilians.

Meanwhile, the Kampala-based Daily Monitor newspaper, quotes the Uganda military as saying that the LRA's sub-commanders want to surrender.

The army said it couldn't name the commanders because they they'd be killed by Kony, just as he did in October 2007 to his long-time deputy commander, Vincent Otti.

The reports were a progress report sent to the media by Capt. Deo Akiiki, the spokesman for the latest military offensive against the LRA dubbed, “Operation Lightning Thunder,” according to the Monitor.

“We assure Ugandans that this Kony nuisance will come to the end. We are in touch with some LRA commanders and soon or later they will surrender to us. Those who will persist will either be captured or killed in the jungles,” Capt. Akiiki said.

He said apart from contacting the army with a proposal to surrender; the rebel commanders have also approached some Non-governmental Organisations over the same matter.


Anonymous said...

Does the following article from the New Vision sound familiar? It is déjà vu all over again!


Sudan Extends Kony Operation
Thursday, 23rd May, 2002

ON THE MOVE: UPDF soldiers patrol southern Sudan in search of LRA rebels
By Emmy Allio THE Sudan government has extended up to end of June, the period for UPDF’s operation “Iron Fist” against Kony rebels in Sudan, the army spokesman, Major Shaban Bantariza, said yesterday. He said, “This extension is subject to changes when defence ministers of both countries meet soon. Under the terms of the March agreement, the ministers were to meet regularly to review the protocol.” The head of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), Lt. Col. Noble Mayombo, who was in Khartoum to re-negotiate the protocol, returned yesterday. Sudan, in March agreed to allow Ugandan troops on its soil for 30 days to destroy LRA bases. It then agreed to an extension of 30 days more, which expired on May 19, 2002. The acting army commander, Maj. Gen. James Kazini, told the press yesterday, that the army had flushed rebels out of his camps near Juba, from where they fled to the Imatong mountains in the south east. “His ammunition and food supplies are running out...and this has affected the morale of his fighters who are on the verge of collapse due to hunger and lack of ammunition,” he said. Kazini was quoted as saying the rebels were now surrounded, “This is definitely the last phase,” he said. “Kony will either be killed, die of hunger or surrender in the next 45 days.” A Catholic Church missionary news agency said earlier this month that the LRA had killed more than 470 Sudanese civilians in an orgy of violence between April 27 and May 3. One group of 60 mourners was forced to cook and eat the corpse they were about to bury before being gunned down. Kazini vowed to resign if he fails to wipe out the LRA by December. He was instrumental in defeating Allied Democratic Forces rebels in western Uganda last year and led Ugandan troops in support of a rebellion in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The LRA has been fighting the Uganda army in northern Uganda since 1987. Kony says he wants to found a state based on the biblical 10 Commandments. Operating from bases in Sudan, the rebels have abducted at least 12,000 children many of whom they turned into wives. Ends

Anonymous said...

Also read the Hansard from the Uganda parliament debate in December 17 2002 on the president's earlier speech updating the nation on the success of Operation Iron Fist. Very revealing though long.


The debate on national security and northern Uganda starts about half-way through the document with Gilbert Bukenya's presentation.