Kony ‘Drops’ Ongwen From LRA Command

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel leader Joseph Kony has reportedly dropped senior commander Major General Dominic Onwgen for misconduct.

LRA's fugitive leader Joseph Kony
LRA’s fugitive leader Joseph Kony

Dillis Abang, who is among the 15 former LRA abductees that were brought to northern Uganda by the UPDF yesterday, says that since December 2013, the commander of the Sinia Brigade has been inactive in the LRA command structure.

This, according to the 24 year old Abang, came after Ongwen reportedly turned three abducted women into his wives without consulting the LRA leader.

Abang, who was also one of Ongwen’s wives, says that since that incident Ongwen has been out of the LRA’s senior command and has been replaced by one Alingech, who happens to be very loyal and respectful to Kony. To confirm that Ongwen had no power, Kony reportedly called Alingech and asked him to release 31 abductees who included women and children.

Kony is known for dealing harshly with any of his commanders who move against his orders. In October 2007, a disagreement between the LRA leader and his deputy, Vincent Otti, over the handling of the Juba peace talks saw the latter stripped of his duties and summarily executed.

Abang says she was abducted in 2005 from her village in Panjok in Minakulu, Oyam district. She said three of them were abducted that time but one person has since died. She was in primary six in Adel primary school at the time.

Apollo Jessie an officer with amnesty commission in Gulu welcomes Abang Dillis and other women and children from the bush
Apollo Jessie an officer with amnesty commission in Gulu welcomes Abang Dillis and other women and children from the bush

Ongwen is one of the top LRA commanders who were in 2005 indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The others are Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, Raska Lukwiya and Okot Odhiambo. Otti and Lukwiya have since died.

Ongwen faces three counts of crimes against humanity which includes murder, enslavement , inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering and four counts of war crimes ,murder , cruel treatment of civilians, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population  and pillaging.

Captain Mark Mutono, the 4th Division UPDF spokesperson, says that the release of the women is a testimony that the LRA is totally weakened. He says the rebel force is incapacitated and they cannot stand and fight.

The LRA reportedly released 33 women and children on August 6th in an area known as Bili in the Democratic republic of Congo.

The UPDF estimates the LRA force to be about 300, adding that many of them are not involved in combat.

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