Uganda: LRA in Disarray as Leader "Arrested", 4/20/99

Uganda: LRA in Disarray as Leader "Arrested", 4/20/99

UGANDA: LRA in disarray as leader "arrested"

NAIROBI, 20 April (IRIN) - The Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), has been wracked by internal division and a high-profile resignation in recent weeks. In the latest blow, its leader, Joseph Kony, was on Saturday reported to have been apprehended by government authorities in Sudan.

The Ugandan semi-official newspaper 'New Vision' reported that Kony was no longer at his base at Jablein in southern Sudan and was under house arrest at an unknown location. Other LRA officials had their passports seized, and another senior LRA member, Yassin O'jwang, had fled to Aden, in Yemen, the paper added.

Relations between Khartoum and the LRA soured, according to the 'New Vision', after Democratic Republic of Congo President Laurent-Desire Kabila offered cash and military support to the LRA to destabilise Uganda. Uganda supports DRC rebels fighting Kabila. Kony's direct relationship with Kabila made the LRA's hosts, Sudan, "uneasy", the report said.

However, a DRC embassy spokesman in Nairobi denied any contacts with the Ugandan rebels. "We do not have any links whatsoever with the LRA," he told IRIN on Tuesday. "We cannot supply anybody with arms, we are fighting our own war."

Sudanese territory has long been used as a rear base for the LRA, and Uganda has consistently accused Khartoum of supporting the rebel group, notorious for its abductions of civilians and children. Kony drew a US $7,000 monthly salary from the Sudanese Armed Forces, the 'New Vision' claimed, but his payments were stopped in February.

LRA fighters, however, are reported to have attacked Purungo Trading Centre in Gulu district, northern Uganda last week. A defence ministry official told IRIN that three girls under the age of 13 had been abducted in a series of attacks starting on 23 March. He said the latest attacks by "these mad guys" were "the last kicks of a dying horse".

A former LRA spokesman, London-based David Nyekorach Matsanga, left the group this month, and in a statement released on the Internet, blamed an LRA official, Lt Col Nyeko-Yardin, for "dissolving" the political wing of the LRA. "Coup-plotters", Matsanga said, had brought "political darkness" to the LRA.

A freelance journalist in London, Tony Masaba, in a dispatch sent to IRIN on Tuesday, also claimed that two LRA members in Kenya, Alfred Obita and Willy Oryem, have had to move to the UK under pressure from Kenyan authorities. Masaba further alleges splits within LRA fighters inside Sudan.


Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 18:27:32 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: UGANDA: LRA in disarray as leader "arrested" [19990420]

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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