Africa

LRA commander Dominic Ongwen 'in Ugandan custody'

An undated picture taken from the Interpol website on 7 January 2015 shows senior Lord's Resistance Army leader Dominic Ongwen. Image copyright AFP
Image caption LRA commander Dominic Ongwen says he was abducted by the rebels when he was 10 years old

A senior militia commander wanted for war crimes has been handed over to Ugandan troops in the Central African Republic (CAR), the US says.

Dominic Ongwen, considered by some to be a deputy to Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) chief Joseph Kony, was taken into US custody last week.

Rebels in the CAR said he was captured but US officials say he defected.

Uganda has said he will face trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

The LRA has abducted thousands of children for fighting and sex slavery.

Both Mr Ongwen and Joseph Kony are wanted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The LRA, led by Joseph Kony, has killed more than 100,000 people, and kidnapped more than 60,000 children

The US embassy in Kampala tweeted that Mr Ongwen had been handed over to the Ugandan contingent of the Africa Union force set up to tackle the LRA.

Uganda Foreign Affairs Minister Okello Oryem said the LRA commander would be taken to Uganda before being sent to The Hague.

Uganda had initially wanted to put him on trial but on Tuesday announced it had agreed to send him to the ICC.

The BBC's Catherine Byaruhanga in Kampala says Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni appears to have conceded that the LRA has committed atrocities in neighbouring countries as well and so he should face international justice.

President Museveni has recently accused the ICC of bias against African leaders.


Who is Dominic Ongwen?

  • Said to have been abducted by LRA, aged 10, as he walked to school in northern Uganda
  • Rose to become a top commander
  • Accused of crimes against humanity, including enslavement
  • ICC issued arrest warrant in 2005
  • Rumoured to have been killed in the same year
  • US offered $5m (£3.3m) reward for information leading to his arrest in 2013

Dominic Ongwen - full profile


The US had offered up to $5m (£3.3m) as a reward for information leading to his arrest, transfer or conviction.

CAR rebel group Seleka says it should be paid the bounty after capturing him in a battle near the town of Obo.

The LRA rebellion began more than two decades ago in northern Uganda and its estimated 200-500 fighters have since terrorised large swathes of the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and the CAR.

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