All Africa | Central Africa: Muted Applause for Ugandan Rebel’s Arrest
By Simon Jennings
As the Ugandan military seeks to flush out Joseph Kony, leader of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army, LRA, analysts are downplaying the significance of last weekend’s capture of a senior commander from the group.
According to the Ugandan army, LRA officer Caesar Acellam was captured in a pre-planned ambush as he crossed the Mbomu river between the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, and the Central African Republic, CAR.
Felix Kulayigye, spokesman for the Ugandan People’s Defence Force, UPDF, described Acellam as a “big fish”, and predicted that his detention would accelerate the arrest of other LRA members, including Kony himself.
The International Criminal Court, ICC, in The Hague has charged Kony and two of his commanders, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen, with atrocities committed during the 20-year insurgency which ravaged northern Uganda until 2006. Two others whom the ICC charged in 2005 have since died.
Analysts say it is not clear what Acellam’s arrest means for the pursuit of the three ICC indictees, since the precise circumstances have not been made public.
“The key question again is whether this was a result of a negotiation and he had a path smoothed for him; whether he simply walked out of the bush or whether he was tracked down and captured,” Ben Shepherd of Chatham House’s Africa programme said. “Until we know more details on that, it is very hard to know what the implications are.”