6 October 2005

Uganda: Brigadier LRA Killed in Teso

Soroti — THE LRA senior commander killed by the army in Amuria district near Soroti on September 30, has been identified as the notorious Brig. Dominic Ongwen.

Ongwen, the commander of Cinia, the LRA's 1st brigade, was identified by two former commanders Col. Onen Kamdulu and Lt. Col. Francis Okwanga Alero. The former rebels travelled from Gulu to Soroti on Tuesday to assist the army identify Ongwen.

The body was exhumed from a shallow grave at Nakatunya Cell A Ward cemetery in Soroti Municipality for identification after which it was reburied in the same place.

Ongwen has been one of the most notorious LRA commanders and the highest ranking of all LRA commanders inside Uganda.

On September 28 and 30, he attacked Angica and Iyalakwe refugee camps in Obalanga, in the newly-created Amuria district and burnt over 30 huts in Angica, Iyalakwe in Obalanga and Ayola in Morungatuny sub-county. The LRA also killed the LC1 vice-chair of Adungo village, Michael Omoji and abducted two children, Ojok and a four-year-old girl.

Ongwen was buried on October 1, after his body was paraded at Soroti Public gardens by the chief coordinator of Arrow Group who is also RDC Soroti, Musa Ecweru.

Another notorious LRA commander, Brig. Charles Tabuley, was also killed in Teso in 2003.

Ecweru said over 40 rebel commanders and 400 fighters were killed when they first invaded Teso in June 2003.

Speaking at a security meeting at Amuria district headquarters on Tuesday, the Army commander, Lt. Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, said the infiltration of the LRA into Amuria was caused by a lapse in the security, and warned that would not be tolerated.

"It (attack) is unfortunate," Nyakairima said.

He said the insurgency had persisted because some UPDF officers did not work 24 hours a day.

"We have no time to walk for peace; we should be running because we lost time," Nyakairima said.

He said the army had reduced LRA numbers after the President directed them to work for 24 hours.

He urged all soldiers in Teso and Karamoja to do the same, saying hard work was the only way to peace in the region.

He said the army had acquired sophisticated weapons which Kony could not match.

Nyakairima assured Teso that the war was about to end.

State minister for health who is also the chairman Arrow Group, a local militia, Mike Mukula, delivered President Yoweri Museveni's message. The President regretted the incident.

Lt. Gen. Jeje Odongo, the state minister for environment and Teso MPs were present.

"He (Museveni) is very sorry for what happened in Obalanga. We met on Sunday about this matter and he told us that go to Amuria and listen to the cry of my people there, and tell them that security shall be guaranteed for them," Mukula said.

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