By Steve Paterno
August 3, 2014 - The notorious Ugandan rebels, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is slowly gaining life-support as it is embarking on military alliance with South Sudan rebels as well as enjoying a cozy relationship with the Khartoum regime.
Since the regional militaries of Uganda, South Sudan, Congo, Central African Republic, and USA mounted military assaults against the LRA positions, the rebels ended up being pushed to establish camps deep to the North-West of South Sudan; in the Western Behr Ghazel State to be exact.
The recently leaked intelligence report identifies the Kafia Kingi enclave as the bases for LRA. The LRA established three camps near the villages of Kiringulu and Wabijala. Camp Kulu-Kweyo is run by Joseph Kony, the leader of the outfit. While, camps Kulu-Oyedo and Cwa are under the commands of Okot Odhiombo and Dominic Ongwen respectively. Then, farther to the north, lays a barrack of Khartoum armed forces.
Despite Khartoum’s denial of LRA’s presence and its sponsorship, the UN reports of May 6, 2014, acknowledges that indeed LRA are being hosted in Kafia Kingi by the rogue regime. In actuality, Kafia Kingi is one of the South Sudanese legal territories, which is still occupied by Khartoum military.
To further compound the issue, the current military and political dynamics in South Sudan clearly affect the tactics and strategies of LRA. Early this year, Joseph Kony dispatched a contingent of the rebels under the command of one of his able fighters, Dominic Ongwen in order to reinforce the South Sudanese rebels in Upper Nile. Currently, Ongwen is believed to be serving with South Sudanese rebels along with his handlers from Khartoum along the border areas.
Accordingly, the LRA’s plan is to focus in building a military to military alliance, abandon their current bases, open a supply route, preferably, via Maban and establish a foothold in Equatoria region.
Ironically, Dominic Ongwen is an interesting choice to lead such grandiose plan of operation, to say the least. Ongwen, who was abducted as a child to join the rebellion, earned his way so quickly into LRA leadership through his prowess in the battlefield as well as for his ruthlessness. An ally of Vincent Otti, he is reported to be the only one in LRA leadership who dared to challenge Kony to spare Otti from ultimate execution. At one point, it is said he declared that he would kill Kony if Kony rejected to sign the Juba Peace Agreement.
After the collapse of Juba Talks, Ongwen continued to defy Kony on numerous occasions. He blames his effort to defect on Americans who could not guarantee his safety and for not being able to dismiss his ICC indictment. His distrust even grew more after he sent his wives home as a goodwill gesture to defect, but though, there were no follow up in order for him to defect.
The most recent satellite communication intercepts identified a certain Adam and Okello Mission under area surrounding latitude 15° and longitude 30°, clearly within the Sudan. Adam is said to be a top advisor to President Omar al-Bashir. He is the liaison for both rebels of Uganda and South Sudan. Meanwhile, Okello is Kony’s trusted right hand man.
Nonetheless, the most disturbing of all these is that the highly prized regional operation against LRA, supported by USA fails in executing its mission, when all along the rebels were laying right on a plain sight.
Anyway, the adventure of the trio is yet to be fully experienced.
Steve Paterno is the author of The Rev. Fr. Saturnino Lohure, A Romain Catholic Priest Turned Rebel. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org