Wednesday, March 4, 2009

LRA commander captured

The Ugandan army is once again beating its chest in over the capture of what it claims to be the fourth ranking commander of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army.

Thomas Kwoyelo was captured in the Democratic Republic of Congo's northeastern Garamba National Park on Tuesday, army spokesman Major Felix Kulayigye told news media by phone.

"We had contact with the rebels yesterday. Thomas was injured and is now in our custody. We also have some of the fighters who were with him, while others ran away," Kulayigye told the French Press Agency.

This is a much-needed and overdue success for the struggling Ugandan strike force now in its third month of chasing the elusive rebels army and its leader Joseph Kony.

Kony is reportedly on his way to the Central African Republic these days, after his other top commanders, No. 2 Okot Odhiambo and No. 3 Dominic Ongwen called an aid group saying they wanted to surrender.

Apparently they didn't and are still at large, roaming around the remote jungles of northeastern DRC.

While the capture of Kwoyelo denotes some progress, it is far short of anyone claiming that that so-called Operation Lightening Thunder has been a success.

Some 900 people have been killed and the culprits are still on the loose.

The capture does give Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni some small bargaining chip, however, as he meets today with DRC President Joseph Kabila to discuss the future of the operation.

It should also be an interesting meeting, however, since Museveni was instrumental in putting Kabila's father in power in the DRC, only to see the Ugandans stick around and exploit DRC minerals for half-a-dozen years.

Kabila has to be wondering what the Ugandans really intend to do.

KAMPALA (AFP) — Uganda's army announced Wednesday the capture of a commander of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army, the first top insurgent to be arrested in a three-month-old regional military drive against the militia.
Uganda, DR Congo and south Sudan armies launched a joint military operation against the rebels in December after elusive LRA chief Joseph Kony refused to sign a final peace deal with the Kampala government.
Kony is yet to be arrested and his fighters have killed hundreds of civilians while fleeing the onslaught.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his Congolese counterpart Joseph Kabila are to meet Wednesday to review the operation and decide whether Ugandan troops will remain in DR Congo.
Kabila had said Ugandan troops were to leave DR Congo by the end of February, but they have yet to withdraw.
Kony's rebels are accused of having raped and mutilated civilians, forcibly enlisting child soldiers and of massacring thousands during two decades of conflict.

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