Uganda's Army announced late on Sunday that its forces had captured Caesar Achellam, a senior commander of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group led by its notorious leader Joseph Kony.
The military said Achellam was seized in an operation carried out in the Central African Republic by the Ugandan security forces. It added that his wife, young daughter and a helper were also detained in the operation.
"The general of the division, Caesar Achellam, who has fought in the jungle since 1984, is from now on in the hands of the Ugandan Army. My coming out will have a big impact for the people still in the bush to come out and end this war soon," Achellam reportedly said at a press conference held to announce his capture.
The 21-year-old LRA insurgency in the region comprising northern Uganda, eastern Congo, the Central African Republic (CAR) and southern Sudan began in 1988. The group is considered to be one of the world's most brutal rebel forces, and is accused of using children as soldiers and sex slaves. It has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and most members of the international community.
The insurgency movement is estimated to have killed at least 2,000 civilians and abducted more than 4,000 after the four nations plagued by the group's activities launched a joint anti-LRA offensive in September 2008. The insurgency is also said to have displaced more than two million people in the region since it was launched over two decades ago.
Currently, LRA chief Joseph Kony is believed to be in hiding with his fighters in north-eastern Congo. Kony and several of his commanders have been indicted for various war crimes by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, but the LRA rebels say that they will not disarm until the ICC warrants are lifted. The exact whereabouts of Kony remains unknown.
The hunt for Kony has intensified after a recent Internet video, labeled 'Kony 2012,' showing the atrocities carried out by the LRA captivated the imagination of international audience after it was posted online by the U.S. advocacy group Invisible Children. Currently, Ugandan forces are being assisted in their search for Kony by members of the U.S. Special Forces as well as troops from other African nations.
by RTT Staff Writer
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