20 May 2017

East Africa: Student Arrested Over 'Kony Letter'

Photo: Daily Monitor
LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony.

Pallisa — Police in Pallisa District have arrested a student of St Paul Secondary School over allegations that he was found in possession of a letter purported to have been written by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) commander, Joseph Kony, warning of more atrocities.

Security officials said the suspect is a resident of Bulyambwa village, Butebo Sub-county in Butebo County.

It is alleged that on May 12, the suspect, on his way back home at around 7pm, landed on an envelope enclosed with the letter dumped near Matakore Primary School. The student was then reportedly arrested on May 14 for interrogation.

"After reading the letter, the student reportedly took it to one of the teachers of Matakore Primary School, who also handed it over to the LC3 chairman for further scrutiny," Mr Sowali Kamulya, the Bukedi region police spokesperson, said on Thursday.

Mr Kamulya explained that the message contained in the letter was in reference to the remarks made by President Museveni during Labour Day celebrations [May 1] at Kamuge playgrounds in Pallisa District, where he [Museveni] re-affirmed that the NRM had totally defeated Kony and the rebels were no longer a threat to the country.

"The day when Museveni was in Pallisa for Labour Day, I [Kony] was also in attendance and when President Museveni told people that Kony had been defeated I [Kony] just laughed off. This is just the beginning and I hope to establish LRA base in Pallisa District. Watch out for more atrocities," the letter purportedly written by Kony reads, in part.

The letter has prompted both the police and the army to deploy heavily in the area to counter any threat. The officers and the district security committee chaired by the Pallisa Resident District Commissioner, Mr Nabende Watenyeri, have also made a move to calm down residents who are in fear, saying the recent incidents in Masaka and other parts of the country where attackers hacked people at night could occur in Pallisa.

"As police, we have not disregarded the letter but have embarked on carrying out full investigations to establish the motive of the letter and even the source. This is why the teacher and the student were summoned to Pallisa Police Station for interrogations," Mr Kamulya explained.

The teacher and the student were questioned for several hours to help police establish the source of the letter. The teacher was later released on police bond, but the student was still in police custody by press time.

Background

Uganda last month started withdrawing its military troops involved in the US-backed operations against LRA rebels from Central African Republic. Uganda put its boots on the ground in CAR in 2009 after it was reported that the LRA rebels were causing instability in the densely forested western town of Obo in CAR. In 2010, the US government sent 100 of its Special Forces soldiers to support the UPDF in intelligence gathering on LRA activities in CAR.

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