Africa

Uganda captures LRA senior commander

  • 13 May 2012
  • From the section Africa
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Caesar Achellam
The arrest of Caesar Achellam could now pave the way for LRA leader Joseph Kony to be found

A senior commander in the rebel Lord's Resistance Army has been captured by the Ugandan army, a spokesman has said.

Caesar Achellam was seized on Saturday following a struggle between Ugandan soldiers and a group of 30 rebels.

The commander, whom Ugandan officials say is a top rebel military strategist, was captured in the Central African Republic, one of several nations where the Ugandan-led LRA operates.

The most notorious wanted LRA leader is war crimes suspect Joseph Kony.

Following his arrest, Achellam told reporters: "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," he said.

Ugandan army spokesman Felix Kulaigye, meanwhile, said: "The arrest of Major General Caesar Achellam is big progress because he is a big fish.

"His capture is definitely going to cause an opinion shift within LRA."

The commander's wife, his young daughter and a helper were also held.

Kony's global notoriety has increased in recent months because of the internet video Kony 2012, which has been watched tens of millions of times since it was posted online by the US advocacy group Invisible Children.

He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for rape, mutilation and murder of civilians, as well as forcibly recruiting children to serve as soldiers and sex slaves.

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The UN's special representative for Central Africa said on Saturday that Kony was having to move constantly in order to evade capture.

Abou Moussa said: "Contrary to what Kony used to do - that he would stay one month, two months on the ground - he is now moving almost every other day which means the pressure is mounting on him."

The Ugandan army is being assisted in its hunt for Kony by soldiers from other African nations, as well as US special forces.

The strength of his LRA is estimated at between 200 and 500 fighters.