Witness P-18 told court it was because the Acholi did not want to leave camps and go back to villages
A former abductee of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has told the International Criminal Court that Dominic Ogwen, the former LRA commander ordered them to kill every Acholi they met because they had become 'stubborn'.
Witness P-18 told the court that the directive was made during one of their rendezvous or RV meetings as it was called in the LRA camp, which was addressed by Odomi (Ogwen's other name).
"The meeting, what I can recall was when I was told that we should go … whoever we found on the road we should kill because the Acholi had become stubborn," she said.
When prodded further by Benjamin Gumpert, the lead prosecutor in the trial of Ongwen, to elaborate when he ordered them to attack only the Acholi and read to an excerpt of her statement on the attacks, she said that it was because the Acholi did not want to leave the camps and go back to the villages.
The witness also revealed to court that Lukodi internally displaced people's camp was not the original target of the LRA attack.
She said that Awach, another town in northern Uganda, was the intended target, but the LRA changed plans because there was a strong presence of government soldiers in that location.
The witness said she learned about the change in plans when her unit and another unit of the LRA gathered before the attack.
Ongwen is facing 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the attacks on Lukodi in May 2004 and his role in attacks on three other camps for people displaced by the conflict in northern Uganda that took place between 2003 and 2004 in the towns of Abok, Odek, and Pajule. The charges also include sexual crimes and conscription of child soldiers.
Witness P-18 began testifying on Tuesday afternoon, and she was questioned by Gumpert, the lead prosecutor in the trial of Ongwen.
She told the court that she was abducted by men under the command of a man called Tulu. In the prosecution's pre-trial brief Tulu's full name is given as Olak Tulu. Before the attack on Lukodi, the pre-trial brief states he held the rank of major and was in charge of the sick bay of the LRA's Gilva brigade.
Gumpert asked her a number of questions about the attack on Lukodi, which she revealed having participated in.
During cross examination by Ogwen's co-counsel, Charles Taku, another witness P-352 revealed to court that she took part in the attacks on Odek, Joseph Kony's birth place.
"Why would people attack Kony's birthplace, seeing that he was the supreme leader?" asked Taku.
"I did not know why they attacked," replied Witness P-352.
"Now after the attack, did you get to know whether Joseph Kony punished anyone for attacking his birthplace?" Taku asked.
"I do not know. I did not hear," replied the witness.