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Witness: Ongwen Distributed Abducted Girls to LRA Fighters :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Witness: Ongwen Distributed Abducted Girls to LRA Fighters

The Witness said he served as an intelligence officer in the Sinia Brigade that Dominic Ongwen commanded. He said the brigade had an estimated strength of 250 to 300 male fighters and 130 to 150 abducted women and girls, some as young as 14 years old.
Dominic Ongwen, a former commander of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army now at The Hague.
A witness has pinned former commander of the Lord's Resistance Army Dominic Ongwen for personally distributing abducted women and girls to senior rebel fighters as wives.

Testifying at the International Criminal Court on Friday, Witness P-142 told court that some of the abducted girls Ongwen distributed were underage. He said the accused acted with the blessing of LRA leader Joseph Kony.

The Witness said he served as an intelligence officer in the Sinia Brigade that Dominic Ongwen commanded. He said the brigade had an estimated strength of 250 to 300 male fighters and 130 to 150 abducted women and girls, some as young as 14 years old.

Testifying in Court on Friday, the former fighter said once women and girls were abducted, they stayed with commanders of brigades and not with low ranking fighters.

“It was the commander's responsibility to assign the abductees as wives to senior members of his brigade after receiving the blessing of the LRA leader Joseph Kony,” he said.

According to the Witness P-142, LRA fighters who declined to take the females assigned to them as wives were “seriously beaten to near death or sometimes beaten to death.” Witness P-142 said Ongwen had four or five wives but did not say in open court whether any of them had been abducted.

Dominic Ongwen is currently standing trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Prosecution contends that the 41-year-old former rebel commander, himself a victim of abduction in his early years, is criminally responsible for attacks on camps for internally displaced persons in Pajule, Odek, Abok, and Lukodi between 2003 and 2004.

Witness P-142 briefly testified about those attacks, recalling that Ongwen was unhappy to know that they had not killed civilians. “We told him we had not found any civilians in the camps,” adding that Ongwen gave orders for the attacks on Odek and Lukodi instructing soldiers before attack on Lukodi to kill any civilians they met.

Witness P-142 also recalled that some fighters were punished by firing squad and killing civilians was not seen as a crime as no one condemned it. He continues his testimony on Monday.

At least 60 civilians were killed on the 19th of May 2004, when the LRA rebels raided the village of Lukodi located seventeen kilometres north of Gulu town. Three weeks earlier on the 29th of April 2004, a similar attack of a camp for the displaced people in Odek village, the birthplace of LRA leader Joseph Kony, left 44 people dead.