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LRA Chief Intelligence Officer Defects :: Uganda Radionetwork
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LRA Chief Intelligence Officer Defects

Thirty-three-year old Peter Kidega Okello was in charge of general duties and intelligence in the inner circle of elusive LRA leader Joseph Kony. Okello was abducted in 2003 from Kubwor village in Parumu parish, Parabongo sub county in Agago district.
27 Jan 2017 16:47
Captain John Kamanzi handing over Peter Kidega Okello to his family members at Gulu Airfield. Looking on is Vicar General of Gulu Archdiocese, Monsignor Mathew Odong.

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The Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) fighting the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Central African Republic today repatriated a senior rebel commander to Gulu district.

Thirty-three-year old Peter Kidega Okello was in charge of general duties and intelligence in the inner circle of elusive LRA leader Joseph Kony. Okello was abducted in 2003 from Kubwor village in Parumu parish, Parabongo sub county in Agago district.

He escaped on October 9th last year from Darfur region of Sudan and surrendered to the Seleka rebel forces of Central African Republic. This was after he walked for four days in the jungles. Okello was then handed over to the US special forces advisor to the UPDF in Central African Republic.

The UPDF regional task force in Central African Republic repatriated Okello to Gulu for reunification with his family. Okello told journalists that the LRA has been greatly incapacitated to continue fighting a meaningful war.

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Born on June 14, 1984, Okello was abducted in 2003. He says he escaped after reading a defection leaflet printed by Invisible Children, a charity organisation that has been highlighting the atrocities of LRA and the plight of children affected by the war. 

Okello says his splinter unit had about 15 armed personnel and that the entire LRA only number about 120 people.  

Captain John Kamanzi, a UPDF intelligence officer based in Central African Republic, accompanied Kidega abroad a chartered plane.

Captain Kamanzi says the army rescued Kidega from Samwanya, a region north of Central African Republic.  

Like other family members, Martin Ongom, Kidega's paternal uncle broke into tears after failing to lift him onto his shoulders. He was one of the five people abducted alongside Kidega tin 2003.

He said he will do all it takes to educate Kidega and prevent him from joining the UPDF. But Kidega never minced his words about his passion for military service. “I want to work with the UPDF to rescue more abducted children from LRA captivity,” he stated.

Right Reverend McLeod Baker Ochola II, retired Bishop of Kitgum diocese was among the district, cultural and religious leaders who welcomed Kidega. He asked government to comprehensively rehabilitate former abducted children defecting from LRA captivities.

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Kidega's father Okello Tony Lugaja said they had already conducted funerals for Kidega thinking he was dead. He says they were all grateful to see him arrive home alive.

Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, Gulu district chairperson says district leaders are concerned that little is being done to rehabilitate abducted children who continue to defect. He says a lot has been discussed with the Office of the Prime Minister to have formerly abducted children helped.

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