News24

CAR pledges to arrest rebel chief

2010-08-19 07:32

Bangui - The Central African Republic (CAR) pledged on Wednesday it would arrest Ugandan rebel chief and war crimes suspect Joseph Kony with help from Uganda, the US and France.

The efforts of the four governments "will make it possible to lay hands on Joseph Kony," said Jean-Francis Bozize, defence minister and eldest son of President Francois Bozize.

According to the ministry, "the government has recently deployed reinforcements in the northeast to make as secure as possible the regions rife with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels," he said on national radio.

The eastern regions of Haut-Mbomou and Mbomou had been "calm and their populations lived in peace," Bozize said. "But since 2008 a misfortune has landed on them."

LRA rebels

Bozize said the LRA in these regions had been responsible for assassinations, deportations, house fires and pillaging. Consequently, CAR had allowed the Ugandan army to enter its territory in 2009.

The LRA, led by Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court in the Hague, first took up arms against the government in northern Uganda in 1988, waging a brutal rebel war that displaced scores of thousands.

But since 2005, under pressure from the Ugandan army, the LRA has moved into remote outlying areas in neighbouring countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the CAR and the south of Sudan.

The fugitive LRA leader has been on the run since December 2008 when regional states launched a hunt to nab him after he refused to sign a peace deal with Kampala.

In July this year, Bangui officially appealed to the US government for help in "neutralising" the LRA, and on July 14 France announced that it would also send a mission to the troubled areas.

Bozize said Kony would be caught through the efforts of Uganda, which has forces operating in the CAR with Bangui's permission, the US, which sent a 19-strong military team to Haut-Mbomou, and France.