CAR-Joseph Kony’s son has now taken over command of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army field operations in the Central African Republic (CAR).
Brig Sam Kavuma, the Ugandan commander in charge of the African Union Regional Task Force (RTF) pursuing the LRA in CAR, said although Kony is still overall leader of the rebel group, his son, Salim Saleh Kony, has increasingly become more influential and taken over most of the field operations from Dominic Ongwen, who is now sidelined.
The RTF is composed of troops from Uganda, DR Congo, South Sudan and Central African Republic.
“Number one of course is Joseph Kony, Dominic Ongwen is still there, but not active. Kony’s son is actually the most influential commander now,” Brig Kavuma told the Saturday Monitor in an interview in CAR this week.
Brig Kavuma said Kony’s son had been the head of the protection unit in charge of his father’s security before he was elevated to command and control the LRA groups that have been committing atrocities in CAR and DR Congo.
The commander of Ugandan Contingent in CAR, Col Michael Kabango, said Kony’s son is as “volatile” as his father.
During the failed peace talks between LRA and Uganda in 2006, Kony sent his young son Saleh, who was then aged 14, to sign the agreement on his behalf, before the signing was called off.
Brig Kavuma also said collected military intelligence indicates that the LRA has maintained contact with the Sudan government and other armed groups in CAR.
He said the Khartoum government was notified about the information retrieved from the captured gadgets.
Last month Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi told Parliament that the government of Sudan had resumed supporting LRA, an allegation Khartoum denied.
Khartoum counter-accused Uganda of supporting Sudanese armed groups hostile to President Omar Bashir’s government.
At inception, LRA rebels were fighting to topple the Ugandan government but when they were pushed out of northern Uganda, they transformed into a transnational banditry force, attacking South Sudan, Central African Republic and the DR Congo.