By William Tucker
Ugandan soldiers operating in the Central African Republic captured a senior strategist and commander of the Lords Resistance Army. Caesar Achellam, who has been with the LRA since 1984, was captured with his wife and child after splitting off from a group of 30 rebels. Uganda has been working with both the Central African Republic and South Sudan to pressure LRA rebels to put down their weapons and end the decades long rebellion. The Ugandan commander in charge of the operation stated that he did not know why Achellam split off from the main force. It is possible that Achellam knew he was being pursued by Ugandan forces and split from his force as a firefight could have put his family at risk. This doesn’t mean that Achellam was looking to defect or surrender, but his words to the press after being taken into custody certainly suggest just that. Achellam stated, “My coming out will have a big impact for the people still in the bush to come out and end this war soon.”
Early press accounts did reveal some interesting news, however. LRA leader Joseph Kony, who typically moves around monthly to avoid capture, may now be on the move daily. Kony may be feeling the pressure of the pursuing forces or he may just be overcautious. Either way, such frequent movements by the leader suggest that he is traveling with a much smaller force as anything beyond a few dozen would be more vulnerable to detection. If Achellam was able to provide any intelligence on the whereabouts of Kony is unknown, but the Ugandan military would have been unlikely to advertise the commanders capture if that was the situation. Furthermore, Kony hasn’t been in constant contact with each division of his movement (Kony claims the ability to communicate with his divisions via telepathy). The arrest of Achellam may not bring the LRA to an end, but it will likely disrupt much of the groups limited capabilities. The decline in the LRA’s numbers over the past few years coupled with this recent setback indicate that the movement may be in a struggle for its very existence.