Friday, February 06, 2009

LRA top commanders Okot Odhiambo & Dominic Ongwen planning to surrender to Ugandan government?

From Ultimate Media via 6 February 2009:
Uganda Government News: Another LRA top commander to surrender

Another top commander of the Lords Resistance Army, Dominic Ongwen is also planning to surrender to the Ugandan government.

Okot Odhiambo, the LRA second in command has already contacted the International Organisation for Migrations to help him surrender in return for assurances of amnesty.

Odhiambo told French news agency AFP that he and Ongwen are together and are ready to surrender and give up fighting. Odhiambo says they are ready to surrender with the 120 LRA rebels which are with them in their hideout.

Ongwen is among the top LRA rebel leaders who were indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. The others are Okot Odhiambo, Joseph Kony as well as Raska Lukwiya and Vincent Otti who have since died.

If the two top leaders defect, it will be a serious blow to LRA leader Joseph Kony who will be further isolated, having lost four of his top fighters.

This comes at a time when the LRA leader today asked the government for a ceasefire to be able to finalize peace negotiations and sign a peace agreement. The Uganda army has been with the help of DRC and South Sudan soldiers having military operations against the LRA in their bases in Garamba, DRC.

The Uganda army has said the news of top LRA leaders asking to surrender is evidence that he military operation codenamed Operation Lightening Thunder has been successful.

Odhiambo and Ongwen are wanted by the ICC over a raft of war crimes charges, including raping, killing civilians and forcibly enlisting child soldiers.

The two men decided to turn themselves in after the governments of Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo launched a joint military offensive to flush holdout LRA rebels in their border hide-outs.

Brigadier Patrick Kankiriho, the Ugandan army officer commanding the military operations said yesterday that the army was in negotiations with the rebels on how they can surrender safely.
See related post at Congo Watch today, Friday, February 06, 2009: Why are the LRA in DR Congo in the first place? Why didn't Uganda solve the Kony problem sometime during the 20 years he fought in Uganda?


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