By Barbara Among
THE Army yesterday released the names of people accused of establishing a rebel group, the Uganda Patriotic Front (UPF). The group is led by renowned medical doctor, Henry Obonyo, who lives in the United States and has a second home in the United Kingdom, the army said.
The list includes Charles Lakony, who the army said authored the rebel groupâ€™s concept document. He is however said to be using the pseudo name Don King and lives in San Diego, United States. He is a PhD holder of Political Science.
Another prominent name on the list is Dr. Charles Akena who lives in Canada and is said to be a key financier of UPF. He is very rich with strong business chains in the USA and Canada.
Also on the list is Joshua Abonga Otukene, who reportedly uses a pseudo name, Rembo, and lives in San Diego, USA. He also has homes in Nairobiâ€™s Jahamuri estates. Otukene is a former US marine, who has been supporting the Lordâ€™s Resistance Army but on many occasions disagreed with Kony over how the warlord was conducting the war. He is said to have at one time proposed to the late Vincent Otti that he should join them in Garamba Forest, eastern DR Congo but LRA leaders refused.
Fred Okullo Otim, a former US pilot who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada in the US, but hails from Lacor village, Gulu district, is another key name on the list. He was one the people whom Kony dismissed from the Juba peace talks.
Alex Okot Langwen, son of the late Lt. Gen. Bazilio Okello, a former army commander under Tito Okelloâ€™s military junta in 1985, was recently arrested. The army said he had been the main UPF man on the ground, in charge of organising and recruiting. He was arrested in Lacor, Gulu and remanded in Luzira Prison.
The army alleges that Okot was the one coordinating the activities between Gulu-Kampala and Nairobi. He is said to have recruited Onek-Mon, a UPDF soldier who is also a former LRA commander.
Onek Adyanga, based in Canada, is the key UPF man who is reported to have been in Uganda between March and June 2009, recruiting for the group in Gulu, Kitgum and Pader district.
Also mentioned is Lapwony Okwon, who is based in the UK. He hails from Gulu and has been developing a network for recruiting members for UPF.
Also named is Chairman of the Acholi Community in the US, Dr. Ocan Lapit Otim, who lives in California. He is said to be a strong member and financier of the UPF.
Maj. Oboke Okello Latigo, also known as Tool Box, lives in Nairobi and is reportedly coordinating activities of UPF in Kenya. â€œHe normally directs people to approach former LRA rebels who are within the UPDF or those in the community and he talks to them on phone to encourage them,â€ read an intelligence brief.
Other names on the list were Sande Angoma Okello from Namukora sub-county in Kitgum district, currently a PhD student at Lust International Development Metropolitan University, Birmingham, London. He is said to have co-edited the rebel groupâ€™s concept document.
The list, released by army spokesperson Maj. Felix Kulayigye, also includes Dr Acan Lapit Oxim, currently living in California, USA and Lapwony Ocon, who lives in the UK, but hails from Gulu.
According to security documents, the new rebel group was formed in mid 2007. It was originally named the Uganda Patriotic Front (UPF) and later renamed Popular Patriotic Front (PPF).
The founder members consist of former LRA rebel sponsors in the diaspora who disagreed with Joseph Konyâ€™s participation in the Juba peace process and the subsequent killing of LRA deputy chief Otti Vincent by Kony.
It is said this group was behind Konyâ€™s refusal to sign the Juba peace agreement.
Some soldiers of the UPDF are thought to be linked to the group.
Sources intimated that the group had planned to use Bunyoro region as its operation area, particularly the Budongo Forest, as a base. The aim was to de-link it from the Acholi factor.
The document reads: â€œUse Bunyoro region as an area for their operation and make use of Budongo Forests for training, Kibanda County for operation and recruitment of Alur and Acholi who stay in the area.â€
The first attack was to take place between December 2008 and January 2009, with the target being Gulu Prison. The aim of the attack was to release former LRA commander, Onen Kamdul Ajibo and Odongkara, who are said to have knowledge of where the LRA weapons are buried.
The plan to attack Gulu Prison however failed when security sources got whim of the plan, in which they had tried to involve the Gulu Prison Wader, Francis Akena. Akena said he feared for his life and job.
Its second target was to be the Police posts in Kafu, Budongo and various out posts within Masindi district. They aimed at getting arms for initial operations as they awaited their supplies. The groupâ€™s operation in Masindi is said to be coordinated by a secondary school teacher in the district who is also alleged to be recruiting people in the area.
A security brief shows that the group came to light in February 2009, when security operatives detected deceptive information from officials from the International Organisation of Migration (IOM), claiming LRA deputy leader Okot Odhiambo wanted to surrender with over 200 fighters. Satellite phone tracking with the help of international security services indicated that the signals were from Kampala, not eastern DR Congo or South Sudan.
Investigative intelligence led to the arrest of Patrick Komakech in March 2009. Komakech confessed that he was impersonating LRA rebel commanders Ceaser Accallam, Bwone Lubwa and Okot Odhiambo and conning foreign diplomats, government officials and other prominent personalities.
Komakech in the process of interrogation is said to have confessed to being a member of the new rebel group, the Peopleâ€™s Patriotic Front (PPF) that is planning to overthrow the Government.
He mentioned several names of other people who were subsequently arrested from Gulu, Amuru, Pader and Masindi district by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI).
Its objectives show that the group was to recruit already trained military personnel, former rebels or UPDF deserters as well as serving soldiers that subscribe to their ideas.
Its members were instructed not to abduct young children, rob civilians or commit any atrocities. They were supposed to use money sent from abroad for luring people and buying things from people.
On June 16, the Buganda Road Magistrate Court charged 12 suspected commanders and recruitment officers of PPF with treason.