US asked to arrest Ugandan-American rebel Jongomoi Okidi-Olal - The real brain behind LRA leadership?
Desperate to end the northern insurgency, the Ugandan government is pressuring the United States to arrest a Ugandan-American accused of assisting the rebels.
Uganda wanted Washington and the United Nations to arrest a Ugandan-American citizen, Jongomoi Okidi-Olal, and hand him over to the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to the state-owned New Vision daily on Sunday.
The insurgency of Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) have left tens of thousands people killed, 1.4 million others homeless in the last 20 years.
In September last year, deputy LRA leader Vincent Otti crossed into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with about 400 fighters and their families.
However, Otti was forced to return to southern Sudan following a meeting between his representatives, officials from the DRC government and the UN Observer Mission in the Congo (MONUC).
Diplomatic and security sources said Okidi-Olal's role in LRA was confirmed during a meeting between LRA leaders and a DRC Ninth Regional Commander, who was accompanied by MONUC officials.
When the commander talked to Kony by satellite phone, the rebel leader asserted that LRA's entry into the Congo was a result of negotiations between LRA's New York representative (Okidi-Olal) and Congolese officials.
Kony gave MONUC officials Okidi-Olal's telephone number.
Okidi-Olal was also attacked by The Philadelphia Inquirer last month as being a Kony supporter as the paper accused U.S. officials of dealing with a person "with iffy links and motives."
In response to the media report, Kemal Saiki, MONUC's director of public relations, said when the LRA entered the DRC, its commanders gave the UN mission a phone number answered by a man claiming to be Kony.
Kony referred "all discussions about the infiltration of LRA in the DRC to 'our leader' in Washington and gave his phone contact."
Okidi-Olal answered that phone number.
Security sources said when contacted by UN officials, Okidi-Olal admitted links to LRA but said that he was "only a messenger" and that he was committed to seeing an end to the LRA war.
A diplomatic source said Uganda has repeatedly asked the Bush administration and the UN to arrest Okidi-Olal because he is considered to be "the real brain behind LRA leadership." Enditem