Ugandan troops on Saturday captured a senior leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group. Self-styled “major general” Caesar Acellam, a 20-year veteran of the brutal Ugandan group, was grabbed near the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.
A spokesman for U.S. Pres. Barack Obama called the capture “an important step forward.” Based on an earlier statement, the LRA probably considers the arrest yet another example of illegal U.S. hegemony in Central Africa.
While highly ranked within the rebel structure, Acellam is not one of the five LRA officers — including top leader Joseph Kony — who were indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Netherlands in 2005. At least two of the wanted men are now believed to be dead. Kony is at large along with some 200 hardcore LRA fighters and potentially hundreds of captives and camp followers.
In a statement to reporters, Acellam encouraged remaining LRA fighters to turn themselves in, fueling speculation that Acellam’s capture was, in fact, a defection.