Ex-LRA Commander Thomas Kwoyelo Shares Abduction Experience and Rebel Initiation – The Ankole Times

Ex-LRA Commander Thomas Kwoyelo Shares Abduction Experience and Rebel Initiation

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Thomas Kwoyelo commenced his testimony on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, offering insights into his abduction and induction into the rebel organization.

Kwoyelo, aged 49, began by recounting the events of his abduction in 1987, when he was just 13 years old and in primary three. He described how he was taken by LRA rebels while returning home from Pabbo Girls Primary School in Pabbo sub-county, Amuru district.

According to Kwoyelo’s testimony, he encountered a group of approximately 10 to 15 rebels on his way home, who intercepted him and inquired about his haste. He explained that he was hungry after school, prompting one of the armed men to offer him a packet of biscuits from his backpack.

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Instead of allowing him to continue home, the rebels directed Kwoyelo to accompany them to a nearby residence where they encountered around 80 people, including rebels and abductees. Among the group was Platoon Commander Okwera Dulmony, who Kwoyelo identified as the individual who gave him the biscuits.

Under Dulmony’s command, the group proceeded to cross a stream, which one rebel referred to as “Unyama.” They then reached a location where they spent the night, during which Kwoyelo and others were segregated into groups and confined in a hut.

Describing the initiation ritual into the LRA, Kwoyelo mentioned a ceremony conducted in a designated area marked with ash and stones. Participants, including men, women, boys, and girls, were instructed to remove their clothing as rebels marked crosses on their bodies using a mixture of white sand and water.

After this marking ceremony, male abductees were instructed not to bathe for three days, while females were told to abstain for four days. Those with faint marks were considered ill and were promised prayers from LRA leader Joseph Kony.

The court session concluded with Kwoyelo’s testimony adjourned until the following day, April 17, 2024.

Kwoyelo is currently facing 78 charges, including murder, rape, kidnapping, torture, and robbery, allegedly committed between 1994 and 2005 in Pabbo sub-county, Amuru district. These offenses contravene sections of the Penal Code Act and Article 3 common to the Geneva Convention.

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Kwoyelo’s trial marks a significant chapter in Uganda’s legal history, shedding light on the atrocities committed during the country’s conflict-ridden past.

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Samuel Longoli is a distinguished news writer contributing to the journalistic endeavors of NS Media and The Ankole Times.
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