Page last updated at 17:13 GMT, Wednesday, 4 March 2009

LRA man 'captured in Congo park'


Captain Kiconco Tabaro: "It's a very big achievement"

Uganda says it has captured a commander of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) at a national park in the north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

An army spokesman said Thomas Kwoyelo, believed to be LRA fourth-in-command, was seized in fighting on Tuesday.

It came as Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his Congolese counterpart, Joseph Kabila, prepared to meet.

The two leaders are due to discuss their joint operation against the LRA, which was launched in December.


Thomas was injured and is now in our custody
Major Felix Kulayigye

Ugandan troops were due to leave DR Congo last month and the Congolese government says the job of dismantling the LRA is almost complete, but Uganda disagrees.

The rebels have attacked Congolese villages, massacring more than 900 people since the offensive began just before Christmas.

A Ugandan army spokesman said Mr Kwoyelo had been wounded during fighting in the remote forests of Garamba National Park.

Major Felix Kulayigye told AFP news agency: "We had contact with the rebels yesterday. Thomas was injured and is now in our custody.

"We also have some of the fighters who were with him, while others ran away."

The BBC's Joshua Mmali, in the Ugandan capital Kampala, says the capture of the little-known rebel is being greeted by the public more with a shrug of indifference.

LRA leader Joseph Kony is the man they want to see in custody, says our correspondent.

But he remains as elusive as he was when the conflict began more than two decades ago.

Mr Kwoyelo is not one of Mr Kony's two deputies, who have been indicted along with the LRA leader on war crimes charges by the International Criminal Court.

Mr Kony's long and brutal rebellion against the Ugandan government has left tens of thousands of people dead, driven some two million people from their homes and destabilised a swathe of central Africa.

Last year, the LRA leader refused to sign a final peace deal thrashed out at two years of talks in neighbouring South Sudan - prompting the Ugandan military to lead the latest offensive.

The LRA has insisted the war crimes indictments must be lifted before signing a deal to end the conflict.

The rebels are accused of having raped and mutilated civilians, forcibly enlisting child soldiers and of massacring thousands during two decades of conflict.

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