Kony hits dead time, says Museveni
Kony hits dead time, says Museveni
President Yoweri Museveni on Monday made a radio statement on the joint Sunday assault on the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in the Garamba Park. Below are the excerpts....
I greet you all and I congratulate you for reaching the end of 2008. 1 wish you a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year, 2009.
The purpose of this broadcast is to tell you that on Sunday 14th December 2008, at 1130 hours, we attacked Kony’s camp in Garamba Park. It was a very successful operation because our Air-force, operating with the support of the brother Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the brother Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), attacked Kony’s main camp codenamed “Kiswahili”.
The gunships flew directly from Koboko (district), carried out the attack and refuelled in Southern Sudan. Later in the day of that same Sunday, our other assets, including MIG21 jet-fighters, landed on some airports in DRC. The airports in the three sister countries, DRC, GOSS and Uganda are now being used to end this shameful terror of Kony in the Great Lakes region. We are most grateful to the sister countries of DRC and Sudan for this correct stand on terrorism and unconstitutionalism.
We attacked Kony because of the following reasons:
1. Kony had refused to sign the agreement that had been negotiated for two years under the mediation of the Government of Southern Sudan for whom we are most grateful for the tireless effort they put in. This showed that Kony only understands one language — that of the gun. I do not think it was ever correct to beg Kony for peace as some groups were doing. We are ready to forgive Kony. It should, however, be Kony to beg for peace because he is the one that killed Ugandans, abducted women for sex-slaves, abducted children, mutilated Ugandans and other Africans, etc. Anyway, Kony proved that he was never interested in peace by refusing to sign the agreement when the signing was due, not once but many times.
2. Kony has never stopped abducting Congolese, Southern Sudanese and citizens of Central African Republic (CAR) ever since he entered Garamba over three years ago. Indeed, we are already rescuing children from these countries that Kony had abducted, including a 17-year-old girl from CAR, who is heavy with pregnancy - thanks to Kony’s thugs!
3. Kony continued to kill Ugandans even during the peace talks, including the killing of Otti. Why should Kony, who is so concerned about the International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment and always wants guarantees for his safety, kill other law-breakers like Otti? Why does he care about his life and not that of others? This impunity of Kony and those who support him must be brought to an end.
4. Kony had started dispersing his terrorists to the whole region (DRC, Southern Sudan, etc. and was trying to re-infiltrate some elements into Uganda) to ensure that in the coming dry season he causes terror in all these areas. Only yesterday the SPLA attacked a Kony group led by Kidega at Lanya in Southern Sudan. This had been sent by Kony long before the Sunday attack to disrupt Southern Sudan and possibly Northern Uganda. This group of Kidega was sent from Garamba on the 5th of December 2008 long before the attack of 14th December 2008. The aim was to start the killings in Southern Sudan and Northern Uganda.
We, therefore, had no option but to act against these criminal acts and we did with the support of the region and the international community. The region supports us through coordination, joint operations and sharing assets. The international community gives us moral support and some limited solidarity in some areas.
Was the attack mission successful? It was very successful in spite of some delays due to coordination challenges. The attack took place at 1130 hours (East African Standard time) instead of 0730 hours local time. On the first day of the attack we could not use all our assets: gunships, jets, infantry, etc, because they were not in position on account of coordination challenges, distances, weather, etc.
Nevertheless, it was a big success. Why do I say so? The following are the reasons:
I. Although we used only gunships, they were right on target. Kony’s people were on parade preparing to disperse in order to spread terror to the whole region. Many were killed and the rest scattered in the Garamba Park. Kony survived the attack because he left the camp five minutes before the attack. We suspect that somebody had given him a gadget for detecting conversation of pilots in flight. Indeed, we have captured a manual for that purpose that we are studying. This is a curable challenge. He might not be so lucky next time.
II. The Kony group was forced to abandon the huge amount of food they had got from Caritas, the huge gardens they had cultivated using slave labour and comfort of the Garamba territory they had turned into their own. They are now leading the life of fugitives in the park. Indeed, the Kony gardens are now feeding our troops, thereby saving on the costs for the airlift of food from Uganda. Without food the Kony terrorists are in great trouble.
III. On Sunday, we disrupted Kony’s cohesion and his simple supply system that was based on the locally grown food and that given to him by Caritas when he was deceiving Dr. Riak Machar that he was interested in the peace talks. We did this with the use of only one element — the gunships. The full force of the UPDF and our allies (FARDC and SPLA) is now being assembled in the region.
As an old fighter, I would not want to be in Kony’s position. The combined arms operations that are about to begin will decimate him.
This is exactly, what happened in Teso and Lango in 2003, when Kony’s notorious commanders — Tabuley, Nyeko, etc., died. That is why Otti and Kony fled to Garamba with very much reduced manpower — Kony had 120 and Otti had 120. Kony and Otti did not go to Garamba for tourism reasons. They were fleeing. I remember the battle of Apopong in Teso, in August 2003, where one of Kony’s commanders called Opio died. That was, actually, the turning point of this conflict. What happened in Teso is about to happen in Garamba unless Kony does the wise and simple thing — ask for safe passage to the Ri-Kwamba assembly area and sign the peace agreement.
That is the only safe course of action for Kony.
iv. If Kony tries to scatter in the region (Southern Sudan, other parts of DRC or tries to return to Uganda), he will be more exposed to danger than in Garamba. We have now gathered more intelligence on Kony’s activities and those who support him by entering Kony’s camps in Garamba. As we continue operating, we shall gather even more information against him.
If we could attack Kony from Koboko, 231 miles away, how will he survive if he is nearer in Southern Sudan or tries to re-enter Uganda?
Therefore, I would like to assure Ugandans that this is the end of Kony as a terrorist. We have ended cattle rustling in Karamoja precisely on account of this capacity.
There are the likes of Okello Okello and Okumu Reagan who try to cause panic in the population that Kony will come back to Uganda in order to resume his terrorism. They refer to the operation Iron Fist of 2002, when we flushed Kony out of the Kit Valley (Rubangatek, Kempaco, etc.) only for his group to go to the Imatong Hills from where we flushed them, They, then, re-entered Uganda and caused a lot of suffering until they were defeated in Teso in 2003 and, eventually, fled to Garamba. Operation Iron Fist was also a success because Kony was uprooted from his bases in Kit Valley. However, the problem we had that time was that, on account, of the interference in our defence budgeting by some external forces, our Army modernisation had lagged behind. We still relied only on infantry (Soldiers walking on foot). This one we cured when we cut 23% from budget lines of all the ministries and modernised the Army. Indeed, this was one of my campaign points in the 2001 general elections. The Army has now been modernised. It is now a bi-service force — Land forces and Air- force. This makes the Army lethal and prompt in its capacity to deal with un-constitutional e1emets. The defeat of Kony in Teso and Lango in 2003, was the first fruit of this modernisation. The pacification of Karamoja is the second big fruit from this modernisation. The Sunday 14th long jump operation into Garamba opened a campaign that will see the end of Kony either, peacefully, by him walking to Ri-Kwamba and signing the agreement or by being violently killed or captured together with those traitors that have been with him. This is how we shall liberate all the abductees as we are beginning to do. Those criminal politicians who encourage Kony to avoid peace maybe, paradoxically, God’s agents in bringing about Kony’s death. His continued failure to assemble in Ri-Kwamba will, I am almost certain, bring about his death. Kony should know how to save himself.
I would like to call upon our citizens to ignore Okello Okello and Okumu Reagan. Even Kony would be advised to keep a distance from them and their likes. Otherwise, Okello Okello and Okumu Reagan will cause the death of Kony just as they caused the deaths of Yardin, Nyeko, Tabuley, Lukwiya and even Otti. Any Kony terrorist who listens to their advice will have himself to blame. Victory is assured.
I thank you very much.
Yoweri K. Museveni
22 December 2008 - Nakasero