World Bulletin / News Desk
"We can now confirm he's the one and we can also confirm he's in our custody at our base in Obo," Paddy Ankunda, Uganda's military spokesman, said. "We think he was just tired of bush life and simply turned himself in."
The U.S. State Department had said on Tuesday that a man identifying himself as Ongwen had given himself up and had also said they were verifying the claim.A leading activist also confirmed the news.
"We are confident that the person who has surrendered is Ongwen," Kasper Agger, a Kampala-based field researcher with the Enough Project, a U.S. advocacy group focusing on genocide and crimes against humanity, told The Anadolu Agency.
Ongwen is the second top commander of the Ugandan rebel group Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), currently based in the Central African Republic.
"Ongwen has been the longest serving commander in the rebel outfit and he has had a big influence within the group," Agger, an LRA expert, told AA.
"He has been very popular within the group and his surrender further weakens the group that is already losing its presence in the region," he added.
Ongwen has been one of top LRA leader Joseph Kony’s top protégés, rising in the ranks of the notorious group since 1990, when he was abducted as a child soldier at the age of ten.
Agger argues that the apprehension of the LRA commander Ongwen would be "a major opportunity to advance justice for the LRA’s long record of atrocities."
"For 10 years now, Ongwen has been a fugitive, sought on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the ICC," Agger said. "He should be promptly prosecuted to face justice."
Ongwen is one of the four remaining LRA commanders wanted by ICC to answer charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in northern Uganda where the outfit waged a two decade-long rebellion.
The outfit was ejected out of Uganda in 2006 and is currently operating in the jungles of Central African Republic and northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants in 2005 for Joseph Kony and his top level commanders, but regional and international agents have failed to apprehend them.