The capture of a senior commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army raises hopes for the international effort to end the scourge that the rebel group has posed for so many years in Central Africa. The United States congratulates the government of Uganda on seizing Major General Ceasar Acellam on May 12. The operation is a testament to Uganda’s resolve and commitment, as well as that of the governments of the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of South Sudan to end the threat of the LRA, which has long terrorized the region, killing thousands and kidnapping children to fill its ranks or use as porters and sex slaves.
Acellam told reporters after his arrest that his surrendering will have a big impact for those LRA members still in the bush to come out and end the fighting soon. While he isn’t one of the LRA commanders facing international war crimes charges, he’s a long-time military strategist and field commander. His capture will give new momentum to regional efforts to pursue the group’s remaining elements.
The United States is committed to supporting the people and governments of the region in their collective efforts, in coordination with the African Union and United Nations, to protect civilians and end this threat. A small number of U.S. military advisers continue to train and assist Uganda and other regional forces pursuing the LRA and to protect local populations.
We join the governments of the region and African Union to call on those who have been abducted and the remaining LRA members to depart the ranks of the LRA and peacefully surrender. It is time for those who remain in the LRA to make a choice. Support is available to help those who defect and peacefully surrender to return to their home communities and build a new life. Since 2000, thousands who peacefully surrendered and left the LRA have received amnesty through Uganda’s Amnesty Act.