New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Captured LRA rebel commander hails UPDF

Ceasar Acellam Otto, one of the influential Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) commanders captured over the weekend has hailed the army for treating him well since the capture.

Otto a member of the rebel's high command was captured by the UPDF.  Acellam, a trained former UNLA soldier, was captured in an ambush along the banks of the River Mbou in Central Africa Republic (CAR) on Saturday.

The apprehension of Acellam who was heading military intelligence in LRA, has been touted as a blow to the rebels' command, and could precipitate the dismantling the group that has been fighting a bloody war for over two decades.

"The arrest of Major General Caesar Acellam is big progress because he is a big fish," UPDF spokesperson Col. Felix Kulayigye remarked. "His capture is definitely going to cause an opinion shift within LRA," Kulayigye, who is also the ministry of defense publicist, added.

Acellam, in his 60s, was captured with his wife, his young daughter and a helper. He was nabbed armed with just an AK-47 rifle and eight rounds of ammunition. The UPDF yesterday flew local and international journalists to Central African Republic (CAR) where Acellam was paraded.

The capture comes after a visit to CAR, by Abou Moussa the UN special representative for Central Africa. Moussa said that Kony moves nearly every day as hunters close in on him. He said defectors have revealed that the LRA leader, Joseph Kony has become increasingly unstable.

"People who have defected have provided information on his state of mind. Kony is no longer "very, very stable," said Moussa, head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa, who is helping to coordinate the international hunt and get more governments to try to trap Kony.

A multi-national force, led by Uganda and helped by 100 US Special Forces, has been chasing Kony in Uganda, CAR, South Sudan and DR Congo. The LRA have committed various atrocities that include; rape, mutilation and murder of civilians, as well as forcibly recruiting children to serve as soldiers and sex slaves.

Five LRA commanders including Kony, former deputy Vincent Otti, Odhaimbo, Ongwen and Raska Lukwiya and Charles Tabuley were indicted by the world court, ICC, for crimes against humanity in 2005. However, ever since then Tabuley and Lukwiya were killed by the UPDF while Otti was killed by Kony.

WHO IS ACELLAM

  • Top LRA commander but no on ICC arrest warrant list.
  • Reported to have become Kony's deputy after Vincent Otti was executed in 2007
  • Led LRA fighters from North in November 2006 to Owiny-kibul assembly point
  • Replaced Odong Latek in 1989 as chief LRA fighters' trainer
  • He is believed to have been the current LRA No. 3 after Kony and Okot Odhiambo
  • Defectors claim he was link between LRA and Khartoum
  • Fell out with Kony in 2007 on suspicion that he wanted to defect using the Juba peace talks
  • Survived execution along with Otti and mended fences with Kony

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