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Senior LRA commander surrendered to US commandos

A rebel in charge of communications for warlord Joseph Kony has surrendered to Ugandan forces, the military said today, shortly after the U.S. indicated it was pulling out of the international manhunt for one of Africa’s most notorious fugitives.

Michael Omona’s surrender to Ugandan forces in Central African Republic "shows the degraded capacity’’ of the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group, said Maj. Kiconco Tabaro, the Ugandan military’s deputy spokesman.

The United States on Wednesday cited the weakening of the LRA for its decision to remove its military forces, which have included dozens of special forces, from the operation.

The U.S. will "transition to broader-scope security and stability activities that continue the success of our African partners,’’ the U.S. Africa Command said.

Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity. One of his former commanders, Dominic Ongwen, is currently on trial at The Hague-based court.

The LRA began as a Ugandan rebel movement in the 1980s but at the peak of its powers was internationally known for its cruelty against civilians in Congo, Central African Republic and what is now South Sudan as well. In 2012, the U.S.-based advocacy group Invisible Children made a highly successful online video highlighting the LRA’s alleged crimes, including the abduction of children for use as sex slaves or fighters.

But the LRA’s active membership has shrunk under pressure and is now under 100, according to the U.S. Africa Command.


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