Nine former fighters of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and abducted children, who recently escaped from captivity in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), have arrived in their home district, Gulu, located about 300 kilometres north of Uganda’s capital, Kampala.
Before escaping, all of them had been fighting in the bushes for over five years. According to Northern Uganda army spokesman, Ronald Kakurungo, the nine former rebels, who are between the ages of fifteen and twenty-nine, escaped from the LRA rebel forces some two weeks ago.
Kakurungo said, ”After being on the run in Democratic rebuplic of Congo for several months, the nine rebels defected to to Congolese government forces in Faraji in North-eastern DRC. Later they were handed over to the Uganda People’s Defence Forces which has in turn repatriated them to their home district.”
Gulu district adminstration official, Simon Oborer, said that nine former rebels had been handed over to NGO’s, World vision and Save the children, in Gulu for rehabilitaion before being integrated into society.
One of the former rebels, Okello Ocii, said,”We decided to give in to the Congolese army because we were tired. We had also run short of food and ammunition. We are happy because we are back home.”
Their relatives were happy on seeing them still alive.
LRA rebels originated in northern Uganda where they fought Uganda government troops for over twenty years before they were overpowered and relocated in Democaratic republic of Congo.
The rebels are reported to have split in small groups in December last year when the Ugandan army led an offensive against them in the Democratic Republic of Congo jungles. The groups of rebel went on rampage, attacking civilians in the Congo, Sudan and the Central African Republic.
On Tuesday the United Nations Security Council condemned the attacks by the LRA and urged them to lay down their arms and surrender immediately.