The government yesterday welcomed the US’ offer of up to $5m (Shs12.8b) to any person who captures or provides information for the arrest of LRA commander, Joseph Kony, or any of his two top deputies; Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen.
The US government announced the offer on Wednesday night.
Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa described the cash offer as a “motivator” for those interested in pecuniary benefits. “We don’t hunt for LRA commanders and fighters so that we get money, but so as to end their terrorism,” Mr Kutesa said.
He added: “However, it [the bounty] is a motivation for whoever wants to get that money…and any additional support [for eliminating LRA] is welcome.”
However, the US Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry, said on Wednesday, as he announced the expanded War Crimes Reward Programme, that any sharp shooter who takes any or all the trio out of action will not receive any of the monetary rewards,
“...This is not a dead-or-alive bounty programme. Information must lead to the secure arrest, transfer, or conviction of these people in a court of law,” the Department of State quoted Mr Kerry as having said. “We want these men to look into the eyes of their victims and answer for their actions.”
LRA is accused of committing various war crimes, including rape, murder, enlistment of children as sex slaves and fighters as well as plunder.
The whereabouts of Kony and his two deputies – already indicted by the International Criminal Court - remain unknown. Ugandan intelligence organs believe particularly that the LRA commander is hiding in Sudan whose government it alleges has renewed assistance to the rebel group. Khartoum denies the allegations.
Mr Kerry’s announcement came a few days after the hunt for LRA rebels inside the CAR stalled following a military takeover by Seleka rebels.
Mr Kutesa said Ugandan troops remained on course with the counter-LRA operations in CAR.