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Think tank: war crimes-accused LRA chief likely in Darfur

NAIROBI - The war crimes-accused head of the Ugandan rebel group Lord's Resistance




Same pattern of attacks in the region

Joseph Kony, leading 200 LRA rebels, feared to have crossed CAR border into south Darfur.

Army, Joseph Kony, is likely in the southern part of Sudan's troubled Darfur, International Crisis Group said Wednesday.

The International Criminal Court has an arrest warrant out for Kony for war crimes and crimes against humanity, with his outfit accused of massacres, mutilation, using child soldiers and taking girls as sex slaves.

"In August this year, Kony and his second-in-command Okot Odhiambo led a group of 200 (LRA rebels and followers) through northeast Central African Republic and across the border into south Darfur," ICG analyst Ned Dalby told AFP.

Kony is believed to be in the area of Daffak in southern Darfur where an attack took place September 2, according to information from Darfuri rebels from the Liberation and Justice Movement.

"That seems to make sense with what the Ugandan army was saying. The pattern of attacks in the region and in northern CAR (Central Africa Republic) suggests it's accurate," Dalby said.

The Ugandan army, deployed in Central African Republic since 2009 with its permission, "doesn't have permission from the Sudanese government to follow Kony in Darfur, and that's part of the reason why he is there," Dalby said.

The Lord's Resistance Army first appeared in 1988 in northern Uganda.

Since 2005 it has switched its theatre of operations to the area spanning the extreme northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, south Sudan and the northeast of Central African Republic.

In March the US nongovernment organisation Enough Project said a group of LRA rebels had crossed into south Darfur, as far as Kafia Kingi, close to the border with Central African Republic.

Enough's report was denied by Khartoum and was not confirmed by any other source.

Another group of some 60 LRA rebels moved into the north of CAR from Ouanda Djalle, the scene of an attack on September 5, before heading towards Sudan, the ICG analyst said.

"This group was led by a certain (Otto) Agweng, in charge of Kony’s body guard. That again would confirm the presence of Kony in the area," Dalby said.

LRA elements on Sunday attacked Birao, the main town in the extreme north of the Central African Republic, and kidnapped several people, according to local authorities.

In December 2008 the Ugandan army launched a surprise offensive against the LRA in the far northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The operation failed to capture Kony or finish off the LRA, which has since then split into several columns.

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