Kony deputy's remains found

2015-02-02 21:05
US special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). (Ben Curtis, AP, File)

US special forces have paired up with local troops and Ugandan soldiers to seek out Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). (Ben Curtis, AP, File)

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Kampala - Ugandan troops in Central African Republic have found the remains believed to be those of a top Lord's Resistance Army commander who had been presumed dead, a Ugandan military spokesperson said on Monday.

Ugandan authorities will be conducting DNA tests on a skeleton exhumed from a bush in Central African Republic, where US-aided Ugandan troops are hunting down Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army rebel fighters, said Lt Col Paddy Ankunda.

Ugandan military officials said last year they believed rebel commander Okot Odhiambo had died in late 2013 after being wounded in an attack by African troops near the town of Djema in Central African Republic.

Ankunda said on Monday a defector from the rebel group led Ugandan soldiers to a grave he said contained the body of Odhiambo, who once was Kony's deputy and was one of those indicted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes and crimes against impunity.

Odhiambo was a member of the "control altar" of the Lord's Resistance Army, a small group of Ugandan-born rebel commanders who planned and implemented the group's many atrocities over the years, according to the watchdog group Enough Project.

In a rebel group known for savagery that sometimes included chopping off the limbs of victims, Odhiambo stood out for his alleged ruthlessness. His ICC arrest warrant cited one account that described him as "the one who killed the most."

Watchdog groups and Ugandan military officials believe the Lord's Resistance Army, which originated in Uganda in the 1980s as a tribal uprising against the government, is now vastly weakened as a fighting force amid an international hunt for its leaders across different parts of central Africa.

If Odhiambo is confirmed dead, it would mean only Kony is still at large among the group's top five leaders indicted in 2005 by the International Criminal Court. Another rebel commander, Dominic Ongwen, surrendered last month and has since been transferred to The Hague to face trial.

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