The Ugandan military on Wednesday confirmed that a top notorious commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) wanted for war crimes has surrendered.
Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, the Ugandan army spokesman said that Dominic Ongwen, wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity surrendered in the Central African Republic (CAR).
“It is such a huge success in the anti-LRA campaign,” Ankunda said.
Gen. Katumba Wamala, Chief of Defense Forces of the Ugandan military earlier said that he had not yet gotten the full details of Ongwen’s surrender.
Ongwen, one of the top commanders of the LRA, surrendered on Monday to Ugandan and U.S. troops hunting down the rebel outfit in the jungles of CAR and northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
“The surrender of Ongwen is a major blow to the LRA; Ongwen has been one of Joseph Kony’s top protégés.
“He rose in the ranks since 1990, when he was abducted as a child soldier at the age of 10,” said Casper Agger, Enough Project expert and Ugandan based field researcher.
“As part of the LRA core command, his surrender is a very significant step in the efforts to bring a final end to the LRA,” he added.
“The apprehension of the LRA Commander Dominic Ongwen would be a major opportunity to advance justice for the LRA’s long record of atrocities.
“For 10 years, Ongwen has been a fugitive, sought on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the ICC.
He should be promptly surrendered to face justice,” said Ida Sawyer, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Ongwen is one of the four remaining LRA commanders wanted by ICC to answer charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in northern Uganda where the outfit waged a two-decade-long rebellion until 2006.
Following a military offence, the outfit was ejected out of Uganda and is currently operating in the jungles of the CAR and northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Adam Pletts