The UPDF prepares to integrate abductees and former combatants of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) into the National Army, the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces.
The integration forms part of the wider peace-building process covering disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of ex-belligerents. The approach was designed to rid the region of rebel activity and give hope to persons who were previously part of the rebel movement.
Some of the individuals awaiting integration are former LRA commanders Caesar Acellam, Obur Nyeko Okuti, and Alex Opoka who surrendered last year to the UPDF.
Focus is also put on clearing the land of the threat posed by unexploded ordnances, recovery of weapons and also to facilitate the fight against the LRA remnants.
Major Patrick Bigirwa, the 4th Division Intelligence officer explains that UPDF has been very successful in recovering weapons and demolishing unexploded ordnances in the region with the help of ex-LRA fighters who are currently with the army. He adds that the ex-rebels are a boost to efforts by the UPDF to bring lasting peace to the post conflict regions.
Last week the UPDF’s fourth division recovered an SPG-9 recoilless gun that was buried by the LRA rebels in 2003 in Biwang Walo village in Agago district through the help of one of its former commanders Okuti Nyeko Obur.
Hundreds of the ex-LRA fighters have been integrated into the army including former commander Sam Kolo and Kenneth Banya.