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UPDF kills over twenty Kony top commanders

By Vision Reporter

Added 27th January 2004 03:00 AM

In the last few months, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has made significant scores against rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)

In the last few months, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has made significant scores against rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)

By Joshua Kato

In the last few months, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has made significant scores against rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

A number of top LRA commanders have been killed by the UPDF, on top of hundreds of lower rank fighters. According to the UPDF, at least 20 commanders have been killed. Below are short profiles on the highest ranking of them.

Brigadier Charles Tabuley: one of the highest ranking LRA to die. Tabuley served in the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA). When the NRA captured power, he went back to Teso, but soon joined the Uganda People’s Army of Hitler Eregu. When it was defeated by the then NRA, he joined the LRA rebels.

At the time of his death in November 2003, he was the top field commander of the LRA. “He was Kony’s most trusted commander,” Major Shaban Bantariza says. Tabuley was an architect of so many LRA operations.

He is the man believed to have planned the attack in Teso. He wanted to go back and mobilise some of his former UPA rebels, into the LRA. In June this year, he personally commanded rebels who attacked Katakwi and abducted 100 people. At the peak of the attack in Teso, he called the Arrow Group coordinator Musa Ecweru and warned him.

“He called me on my mobile phone and talked for about five minutes. He said he was going to kill me,” Ecweru said. He adds that he told Tabuley that he would die first. “I told him that he will be killed,” he adds.

His death has changed the operations of the LRA because since then, they have been on the back peddle.

He had 12 wives and a huge number of children. Tabuley could only be equated to Salim Saleh in the bush days.

Brigadier Tolbert Nyeko: Killed on January 17, he was one of few remaining LRA field commanders. Nyeko had taken over as LRA chief field commander after the death of Tabuley. Nyeko served in the UNLA in the 80s. When the NRA took power, he went to the Sudan, but came back with the UPDA rebels, and later joined the LRA.

One of Kony’s most trusted commanders basically because he listened to his every word, without asking any questions. He was a prudent commander, having organised many attacks against the UPDF and civilians.

Among his very infamous acts are two ambushes at Pajok along the Karuma-Pakwach road in which 28 people were killed.

His usefulness to Kony could be compared to Fred Rwigyema or Elly Tumwine in the NRA during the bush days.

Brigadier Ceaser Acellam, Killed in November, 2003. Served in the UNLA, went to the Sudan when the NRA captured power, came back with the UPDA, before joining the LRA. At the time of his death, he was the chief of intelligence. Acellam was one of the most educated rebels in the LRA, which is why he was the main link with the Sudan government.

According to the UPDF, this is what makes his death a major victory. He had created a well trained string of spies for the LRA, both in the bush and in the major towns in northern and eastern Uganda. On top of that, he was also Kony’s listening post about the activities of other commanders.

Colonel Paul Okodi: He was killed January 2004. At the time of his death, he was Kony’s personal secretary. The UPDF recovered a lot of useful documents on his body.

Unlike other commanders, Okodi was among the first abducted people in the north. He quickly rose through the ranks because of his fearlessness. Soon, the rebel chief spotted him and turned him into one of his escorts. From escort, he became a personal secretary.

At the time of his death, he had carried very important messages from Kony to the field commanders. He was attending a high command meeting when he was killed.

Other high ranking commanders killed include; Lt-Colonel Sam Opio Makasi, Lt-Colonel Akura and Lt. Colonel Lacel-Okello.

According to Major Shaban Bantariza, UPDF spokesman the death of the high ranking rebel commanders has dealt a very big blow to the activities of the LRA.

“They can no longer launch any meaningful attack against the army. They cannot even launch meaningful attacks to steal food and medicine,” he says.

The surviving LRA commanders; Brigadier Vincent Otti, one of the longest surviving commanders of the LRA. He is deputy LRA chief. Colonel Raska Lukwiya, grew through the ranks to become one of the field commanders and one of Kony’s most trusted killers.

Brigadier Kwoyello: Kwoyello is currently said to be in charge of rebel remnants in areas of Lango and Pader. Others are Abudema, Odhiambo, Ochan and Kapere.

UPDF kills over twenty Kony top commanders

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