New Vision (Kampala)

25 November 2012

Uganda: 'Kony Out of Touch With His Commanders'

A former escort of Maj. Gen. Caeser Acellam, has revealed that the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), Joseph Kony, has lost contact with all his commanders following intensive pursuit by the UPDF and the American commandos.

Godfrey Okello, 21, was forced into rebellion after he was abducted in Teso at the age of 11 when he was in P3. Kony assigned Okello to be Acellam's escort. Acellam was captured nine months ago.

"The pressure has forced Kony not to meet his commanders for over two years now. They do not even talk on phone," revealed Okello, who escaped from the bush in May this year.

Okello was reunited with his family in Amusu village in Amuria district last week. Okello said Kony had instructed them not to use any kind of device for communication because the army could easily locate them. "Acellam told me that they stopped using mobile phones and radio calls," Okello said.

He said this could have been one of the reasons Acellam opted to surrender. He added: "Many rebels want to surrender, but remain back because the commanders always told us that if we surrendered, the UPDF would kill us." "When they suspect that you are planning to desert the force, they either kill you or transfer you to another camp," Okello said.

In an exclusive interview just after the reunion with his family, he also revealed that Acellam told him about his plans to surrender a year before his capture.

"Life became hard and Acellam told me to prepare for escape, but we failed," Okello said.

On the day of Acellam's capture, Okello says, he (Acellam) was on his way to surrender.

"When I returned to our camp, I did not find anyone. I had three magazines and I decided to go to surrender in Oboo where the army was. I handed them my uniform and the magazines I was carrying," Okello narrated.

UPDF then flew him to Gulu where he was taken to the World Vision rehabilitation centre till last week, when he was reunited with his parents.

There was much celebration upon his return:

"What a day! Okello has added to the number of my voters, thanks be to God, " Francis Oluma, the LC5 chairman of Amuria exclaimed.

His mother, Margret Apio, said her son's return was Christmas in November. She organised a party where a number of goats were slaughtered.

"I had lost hope that he would return because I knew he was killed, but thank God for protecting him and bringing him back safely," Apio said as she carried her son on her lap.

A second born in a family of seven, Okello wants to enroll for a technical course.

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