A senior Lord’s Resistance Army commander has surrendered to the Ugandan military, BBC is reporting. Charles Arop, one of the instigators behind last year’s “Christmas massacre” in Congo, handed himself over to troops on Tuesday.
From late December 2008 into January 2009, LRA units throughout northeastern Congo carried out a coordinated series of attacks, taking a total of 815 lives. According to a Human Rights Watch report, Arop was the commander behind the attack on the town of Faradje, in which at least 143 people were killed and 160 children were abducted.
The HRW report alleged that the rebels strategically chose to attack during Christmas to take advantage of large gatherings. In Faradje, about 200 LRA fighters moved in on residents who had gathered for a Christmas day concert. After tactically pretending to be Congolese army soldiers so that the residents would not flee, the rebels began shooting into the crowd and attacking with sticks and machetes.
A Ugandan military spokesperson said that because of Uganda’s military operation against the LRA, Arop’s original force of about 100 was decimated.
"He was only left with one fighter so what choice did he have?” said the lieutenant.
Originating in northern Uganda, the LRA has splintered into small units and is now scattered in three countries: Congo, southern Sudan, and Central African Republic.
Photo: LRA fighters in the bush. (AP)