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LRA: updf Occupies Kony’s Camps; But where is Kony

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UPDF occupies Kony’s camps

Grace Matsiko

Kampala

They found traces of blood, burnt out huts and signs of human activity but no sign, whatsoever, of LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony.
UPDF Special Forces yesterday arrived at the camps destroyed by Sunday’s bombing in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo but could neither give details of casualties or the whereabouts of the rebel fighters.

Not even the commando unit of the UPDF special forces, the first military element to enter Kony’s command post at Camp ‘Kiswahili’, about 90km North of Dungu in the vast Garamba jungle, could trace the whereabouts of the LRA rebel leader yesterday afternoon, according to various UPDF officers Daily Monitor spoke to but, who could not be quoted because of the sensitivity of the matter.
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WHERE IS HE? LRA leader Joseph Kony holds his daughter, Lacot, and son, Opiyo, at peace negotiations on November 30. REUTERS PHOTO

“Our ground troops from the commando unit reached the biggest LRA camp. They have not found any bodies or wounded persons although there is evidence that a considerable number was wounded or killed at the scene during the air strikes,” Capt. Chris Magezi, the spokesman for the UPDF operation code-named Operation ‘Lightning Thunder’ said.

He said nine sub-machine guns (SMGs) and four anti-personnel mines were recovered. The spokesman said there was likelihood that the rebels carried away the dead or wounded and concealed them between the air strikes and the time the ground troops reached the scene.

The army could not explain how rebels under intense attack would find time to conceal dead bodies or carry away the wounded.
But Defence State Minister Ruth Nankabirwa said, those who have doubts about the raid should wait for the pictures of the attacks including the dead.

“As much as we are eager to tell Ugandans the number of casualties, we are constrained to do so because the camps were completely destroyed and people were killed,” the minister said.
The practice after military operations is to take the press to the scene to record first hand accounts other than depending on pictures or information supplied by the military.

“The six abductees who were rescued near the camp said they jumped over bodies as they escaped,” Capt. Magezi said.
He said six Congolese and Central Africans, aged between 11 and 17, were rescued from the gardens of sweet potatoes, rice, groundnuts, simsim, cassava and beans around the camp.

Ms Nankabirwa said Kony’s female bodyguard, who was abducted from the Central African Republic, surrendered to the UPDF.
Daily Monitor could not independently verify the army claims.

But Ms Nankabirwa said the essence of the strikes is to put pressure on Kony to come out and sign the peace deal if he is still alive. “Since we went in, he has not engaged our troops. We are just hitting him, he does not respond,” she added.

The commandos under Maj. Noel Mwesigye, aboard the military helicopters were parachuted in the radius of between five to 10km from the camp and they crawled into the deserted expanse.

Capt. Magezi said in the camp the forces found guns, explosives, a generator, granaries stuffed with food, saucepans, clothes and other personal effects.

“The forces moved through acres and acres of food crops, which is a sign that Kony has been using abductees as slaves to cultivate the food,” Capt. Magezi said.

But like Army and Defence spokesman Paddy Ankunda, Magezi could not say whether Kony was in the camp at the time of the attack.
“We are trying to verify some reports. Give us some time to do that,” Maj. Ankunda said. Neither Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga, nor the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, could be got for comment.

But the Governor of Central Equatoria state, which covers Juba city, Maj. Gen. Clement Wani Konga, has warned of imminent attack by the LRA rebels following the military offensive.
The attack on LRA camps was launched jointly by the Southern Sudan, DR Congo and UPDF.

Gen. Wani issued the warning in the state council meeting on Monday, which reviewed the security situation in the region with emphasis on taking precautionary measures by the population, the Sudan Tribune reported yesterday.

Gen. Wani, who also chairs the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party in the state, asked the council to mobilise the citizens to fight back if the rebels attack the area. As the offensive continued yesterday, Resolve Uganda, a US-based organisation that monitors human rights in the North, called for the international community to act decisively to ensure that operations target LRA leaders only.

WHERE IS HE? LRA leader Joseph Kony holds his daughter, Lacot, and son, Opiyo, at peace negotiations on November 30. REUTERS PHOTO

WHERE IS HE? LRA leader Joseph Kony holds his daughter, Lacot, and son, Opiyo, at peace negotiations on November 30. REUTERS PHOTO

The call comes as the United Nations Security Council prepares for a briefing this week by Mr Joaquim Chissano, the UN envoy to regions affected by the rebels.

“We must not forget that this is an army comprised primarily of children being held against their will whose lives also hang in the balance,” said Mr Michael Poffenberger, Resolve Uganda executive director.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international rights group, said all parties should respect international humanitarian law and LRA leaders accused of war crimes who surrender or are captured should be brought to trial.

“There is a history of grave abuses against civilians by every belligerent force operating in eastern Congo, including foreign armies,” said Ms Elise Keppler, senior counsel with HRW’s International Justice Programme in a statement on Tuesday.

“All commanders involved in this operation should ensure that their troops rigorously obey the laws of war,” she added.

Written by torit1955

December 18, 2008 at 9:36 pm

Military options against LRA will end in fiasco.

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In response to the tripartite military operations involving Uganda, Congo an South Sudan forces against LRA in Garamba forest Congo, Boutrus Biel present a grim scenario of the possible reactions of Joseph Kony through the resort to his gruesome tactics of spreading his forces out thinly, return to Sudan and targeting soft targets including poorly defended areas and citizens, a repeat of his usual modus operandi.


Military options against LRA will end in fiasco.

By: Boutros Biel

December 14, 2008

E-mail: bboutrosb@yahoo.com

For those who won’t let mine be part of their analysis, I will have names forged or invented, however, at the end of the opposition, truth will emerge for this argument and that is my belief and along with other optimists here and there. “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it” said George S. If only to best recall my experience of the Lord Resistance Army’s alleged crimes while in Uganda. Those painful days when Mr. Opio of the UNHCR Pakelle-Adjumani base was gunned down by the same Konyi’s Last Ruthless Aim {LRA}.

LRA soldiers keep guard at the assembly point in Ri-Kwangba on the Sudan-Congo border, Western Equatoria, April 10, 2008. (Reuters)

LRA soldiers keep guard at the assembly point in Ri-Kwangba on the Sudan-Congo border, Western Equatoria, April 10, 2008. (Reuters)

As if that was not enough, my own teacher, Engineer Tobia Odwa from ‘Kocoa Seminary’ was let permanently go along the same Gulu-Adjumani road. Those series of atrocities were committed by the LRA in the face of so called Uganda People’s Defence Forces {UPDF} and I don’t think if there’s anyone to convince the Southern Sudanese exile returnees from Uganda that dealing with LRA militarily is an easy ride solution to the regional atrocities committed. Madi of Nimule or those who had been to Eastern Equatoria in places like Parjok, Magwi, name them and of late the Kajo-Keji citizens plus Western Equatorians combined, in honesty, can be perfect witnesses to my assertion. LRA led by the same man Joseph Konyi has not changed anything per se. The group is still as it was in the beginning and now as it shall always be with its terror without end.

The former Catholic man’s army is tuned to wipe whoever his spirits direct to hook off {I wonder why the Catholic Church doesn’t revoke his Christian name ‘Joseph’ and equally excommunicate him from the mother church}!. The ICC arrest warrant is a possible obstacle to the Final Peace Agreement expected between Museveni-led government and Kony-manuveuvred group however, Joseph Konyi, the man would have challenged Museveni to the greatest heights had he{Konyi}signed on November 29th, 2008 the Final Peace Agreement. Museveni would have no excuses over withdrawing the ICC thing from the Haque. For Joseph Konyi, as of now whichever way, the risks on his own life are very high. If he doesn’t sign, he would remain in the bushes of Southern Sudan exchanging the location with that of DR. Congo and Central African Republic and not as a free as he assumes but as the most insecure man ever known on earth.

LRA as usual kills indiscriminately and that’s why Konyi didn’t spare his own right hand man Vincent Otti———his own deputy over years who managed to survive with him under worst UPDF hunts even when those LRA members like Sam Okolo their spokesman betrayed their cause. Otti remained loyal to Konyi and LRA command but unfortunately Konyi slaughtered him instantly. GoSS Vice President Riek Machar has been one of the patient guys to see sense of persuading LRA through diplomacy other than barrel of the guns but there are majority in Juba and Kampala who doesn’t see the wisdom of this tactful dealing emphasized by Dr. Machar. The impatient and incalculable group had long wanted to deal away with Konyi militarily little did anyone imagine what would be the repercussion of dealing gun-fully with a mafia of confused and objective less group whose composition leaves a lot to be desired.

When the SPLA and the Uganda People’s Defence Forces{UPDF} plus that orphan army left in the hands of young Joseph Kabila so desire to attack LRA militarily as they have just done, then the entire Equatoria region and Juba itself ought to prepare henceforth to meet the real devil. LRA would go back to its old evil tactics of moving in series of twos, twenty, threes, etc. They will cause havocs between Nimule-Juba road, Yei-Kaya and Yei-Juba roads. They will also stage ambushes to civilian and humanitarian vehicles along Torit-Juba road. Places like Gulu-Attiak-Adjumani, Pakwach-Karuma roads in Uganda would become insecure again. Abductions will become the order of the day. South Sudan, DR Congo and Central African Republic combined will become battlefields. Neither the SPLA nor the UPDF would be able to contain the situation. One would ask simply; ‘how can big and well equipped armies like UPDF and SPLA fail to defeat the tiny ill-armed rebel group led by uneducated former catechist Konyi? The answer is simple, LRA if came directly to fight, either the SPLA or the UPDF would wipe them in very short time but that has not been the case. The styles used by LRA are ever of amusement to both armies.

The LRA uses methods like ‘shoot’ ‘kill’, ‘spoil’ and ‘go’! How many UPDF soldiers had the LRA killed in Northern Uganda? How many SPLA soldiers did the LRA murder in Nimule and most parts of Eastern Equatoria? Honest answers can be frankly found with the SPLA and UPDF soldiers who one day witnessed the LRA atrocities. Therefore, it’s my humble opinion that Museveni-Konyi Peace Talks brokered by South Sudan number 2 Dr. Riek Machar must not be left. This Last Ruthless Aim {LRA} is worst than corruption in Southern Sudan and will take many lives if allowed to go back to its many years’ madness. Those non analysts who mislead GoSS leadership must not discourage its Vice President Riek Machar. General Salva Kiir must not be misadvised to discard his own child {Museveni-Konyi Peace Initiative} which the General had much worked to make available through his deputy Riek Machar. History has shown that only few managed to take pride to outnumber rebel movement through the barrel of the gun. As we are all aware of, war is very expensive and dealing with LRA militarily is very expensive business which neither South Sudan nor Uganda, DR Congo and CAR combined will escape its evil fruits if so desired to choose the unknown side of the coin.

When the first bullet is re-fired on LRA, then Bashir-Konyi relationship would take double face. Janjaweed in form of Ambororo being in Western and Central Equatoria lands will by Khartoum be armed to teeth and may probably join hand with any devil for the worst. South Sudan will be engaged in avoidable unnecessary wars. It will be difficult for the GoSS leadership to function effectively in Juba. As consequence, citizens would lose interest in their government due to rampant insecurity much as prevalent circumstances will portray GoSS as being incapable to protect its own citizens . Cattle rustlings would be rampant in Jonglei, Lakes and Eastern Equatoria states simply because insecurity will be very high as SPLA will be engaged in non objective war with LRA. Those being non patriotic and irresponsible nationalists will double their grab for public property—by that point in time, it will be very difficult for General Salva Kiir Mayardit to clear-cut whether to continue declaring war on LRA or on corruption. VP Machar would have been discouraged very long time ago and would just sit in the towel to exercise his gentlemanship for the sake of peace and order within the SPLM and GoSS.

Those drunk now to fight LRA in order to cause insecurity and increase corruption in the South shall have gotten their lion share and already turned pretending to join the discontented citizens to level GoSS as if ‘a failed Government’——–hence critics would thus come up to say; ‘you see, didn’t we talk of it that GoSS under Salva Kiir and Riek Machar is unable government?’. The likes of Dr. Turabi would have been on the stage preaching slogans such as ‘look, southerners can’t manage to govern themselves’. Discontented Southern citizens due to insecurity and corruption plus other circumstances may consider 2011 referendum a forgone conclusion if not approached it with mixed or unprepared hearts and minds.

Against all this background, it’s now better to pursue LRA peacefully till they sign the Final Peace Agreement with their archenemy Museveni other than South Sudan being falsely lured to war that will later be hard to extinguish. The slogan that ‘’if you want peace, prepare for war’’ is irrelevant in the LRA case. The group has had no relevant objective and therefore, be handled with care—–peacefully and tactfully. Fellow Southerners, believe it that military option against LRA, will be a great miscalculation and unforgivable boomerang to South Sudan and GoSS which’s the sitting government of the day will leave to regr. ———–For president of the Republic of Uganda General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, his country and his presidential guards have nothing to worry this time round as the most unpredictable war of LRA has been technically transferred to Southern Sudan and be fought here henceforth. However, it’s no of underestimation that the LRA will sneak back to Uganda and will possibly cause insecurity under the ‘hit’ and ‘run’ tactics with frequent roaming to and fro as the main battles will be wrestled in South Sudan. Is GoSS through SPLA really prepared to fight the war for others and moreover in Southern Sudan? It’s unfortunate indeed, that only a few of Southern Sudanese who are able to see while sitting what others are unable to project even when they are standing. Anybody listening there????? Let’s kick well, the ball is still up and the rest is left to the conventional wisdom of concerned Southerners!

Written by torit1955

December 15, 2008 at 9:28 am

Uganda:Governments launch military offensive on LRA rebels

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Governments launch military offensive on LRA rebels
Sun 14 Dec 2008, 16:11 GMT
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KAMPALA (Reuters) – The governments of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan on Sunday launched a joint military offensive against northern Ugandan rebels in Garamba, eastern Congo, an army spokesman said.

“It’s a joint operation … We have attacked Lords Resistance Army bases. The operation began this morning,” Uganda army spokesman Paddy Ankunda told Reuters.

Ankunda said they had attacked “several” camps, and no casualties had been reported so far.

Written by torit1955

December 14, 2008 at 6:49 pm