LRA commander captured by Uganda military

[JURIST] Ugandan military forces Saturday captured one of the highest leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [BBC backgrounder], the rebel militia group headed by alleged Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) ambushed and captured [Al Jazeera report] Major General Caesar Achellam along the banks of the River Mbou in Central African Republic (CAR). Achellam is said to be a top rebel military strategist [BBC News report] and close ally of Kony. Achellam has been fighting in the jungles of Africa for almost 30 years. He was taken into custody during a return trip from the Democratic Republic of Congo following a skirmish between about 30 rebels and the UPDF, who had been on Achellam's trail for a month before conducting the ambush. Ugandan officials cite the capture of the major general as significant progress against the LRA, labeling Achellam a "big fish" and expressing hope that his arrest will prompt other LRA fighters to abandon the fight and leave the rebel group. Achellam was reportedly captured with an AK-47, eight rounds of ammunition, a wife and young daughter and an aide.

Since the recent campaign by Invisible Children [advocacy website] to arrest Kony became popular, the international community has shown an increased commitment to his capture. In March International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] expressed his support [JURIST report] for the Invisible Children campaign. Kony is wanted by the ICC for 12 counts of crimes against humanity and 21 war crimes [ICC arrest warrant, PDF], including murder, rape, mutilation and the forced enlistment of child soldiers. Also in March the US House of Representatives proposed legislation [JURIST report] to support and protect Uganda through increased military presence and support in expanding its telecommunications system. In 2009 the ICC said that it was still looking for Kony [JURIST report]. Kony has denied the allegations [JURIST report] against him. Despite ICC calls for global cooperation [JURIST report] to execute the arrest warrant, Kony has remained at large.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.