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Major who handed over Ongwen still waiting for $5m reward

Dominic Ongwen in Obo, January 16, 2014, before being handed over to the ICC by the Ugandan army. CREDITS: BENEDICTE KURZEN / NOOR
Dominic Ongwen in Obo, January 16, 2015, before being handed over to the ICC by the Ugandan army. CREDITS: BENEDICTE KURZEN / NOOR

An officer who says he arrested Dominic Ongwen in January 2015, is still waiting for the $5 million that the US promised in 2013 as a reward for information that would lead to the capture of the LRA leader.

According to a report in France’s LeMonde, Major Amat Mounir of the Seleka rebel group in Central African Republic has not received the money, and is very bitter. “If I had known, I would have killed him on the spot,” he said.

Thousands of kilometers from The Hague, the LeMonde report says, Major Amat Mounir does not care much about the interrogations that surround the ongoing trials of Ongwen at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Major Amat Mounir had claimed responsibility for the arrest of a man sought for ten years by international justice and for whose capture the United States had promised a $5 million bounty.

“A hunter warned us that he had spotted an LRA group in the village of Koto 3. After fifteen to twenty minutes of clashes, we arrested their leader. We recognized him immediately, thanks to the photos of the leaders of the LRA distributed by the Americans,” the officer of the ex-rebel group says.

 

The United States special forces, which have had a base in Obo in south-eastern Central Africa since 2011 to support the region’s armies against the LRA, soon after arrived to take the prisoner.

“They arrived with two helicopters, one landed on the ground and the other remained in the sky. They told us they would bring what they had promised to capture Ongwen.”

“Afterwards, when they came back, they told us that they could not give us cash, because the Seleka is a rebel group and we could buy weapons with it.”

“We said yes, but you can build schools, a hospital, a youth center, redo the road, because there is nothing here. They accepted but did nothing. They only brought tables and benches for the school and some medicines, ” said Major Amat Mounir.

His bid to get the money from the US might also have been undermined by the fact the Ongwen later claimed that he had surrendered.

After his transfer to Obo, where the US and Ugandan armies each set up their base, Ongwen said that he voluntarily surrendered to US forces after Joseph Kony, the LRA leader, wanted to kill him.

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editor@independent.co.ug

 

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