- Title: UGANDA: LRA deserter says Joseph Kony executed his deputy Vincent Otti
- Date: 1st December 2007
- Summary: (W4) ENTEBBE, UGANDA (NOVEMBER 30, 2007) (REUTERS) UN PLANE CARRYING FORMER LRA MEMBERS ARRIVES AT ENTEBBE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT FORMER LRA MEMBERS WALK OUT OF PLANE FORMER LRA MEMBERS RECEIVED BY UGANDA GOVERNMENT TEAM THAT FORMER LRA MEMBERS WALK WITH GOVERNMENT TEAM FORMER LRA MEMBERS AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ENTER VIP LOUNGE AT AIRPORT THREE FORMER LRA MEMBERS SEATED (SOUNDBITE) (Luo) FORMER LRA COMMANDER, SUNDAY OTTO, SAYING: "Otti was killed in my presence on 2nd, I saw Otti being killed, there is no discussion about it, Otti is dead." TWO FORMER LRA FIGHTERS (SOUNDBITE) (Luo) FORMER LRA COMMANDER, SUNDAY OTTO, SAYING: "The rift between between Vincent and Kony is because Otti wanted peace talks and Kony was completely against peace talks." OTTO TAKE NOTES DURING PRESS CONFERENCE FORMER LRA MEMBER (SOUNDBITE) (Luo) UGANDA PEOPLES DEFENCE FORCES, SPOKESMAN, MAJOR FELIX KULAYIGYE, SAYING: "It is unfortunate that Otti is dead, Otti survived us three times, we wounded him three times, he did not die, it is unfortunate that he died during peace talks and as we have been told, the reason why he was killed is more disheartening, because apparently he wanted the peace talks to succeed and Kony did not want." OTTO FLIPS THROUGH HIS NOTE BOOK DURING PRESS CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 16th December 2007 12:00
- Location: Uganda
- Country: Uganda
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA75X7PTSSADKR5TMMDJU817A9T
- Story Text: Deserting commander of Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) says leader, Joseph Kony has executed his second in command, Vincent Otti.
A group of deserters from Uganda's notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) said on Friday the rebels' leader Joseph Kony had executed his deputy Vincent Otti, who has been instrumental in peace talks.
Former LRA commander, Sunday Otto, who was part of Kony's top protection unit said his boss ordered for Otti's execution on the 2nd of October.
"Otti was killed in my presence on 2nd, I saw Otti being killed, there is no discussion about it, Otti is dead," said Otto, speaking on behalf of seven rebels flown to Kampala after handing themselves in to U.N.
The former rebels said Otti's killing was the main reason why they left the LRA, fearing they could be next.
Otti -- regarded as the brains behind the group in contrast to the volatile Kony -- was a prime mover behind the LRA joining peace talks that began last year in Juba, South Sudan, aimed at ending its 20-year insurgency.
"The rift between between Vincent and Kony is because Otti wanted peace talks and Kony was completely against peace talks," said Otto.
Rumours of Otti's death have been circulating for weeks in Uganda, with various rebel and mediator sources saying he had been arrested by Kony. But until Friday, no credible source had offered confirmation of the speculation Otti was dead.
A mediator in the peace process had said Kony punished Otti on allegations of spying, while Ugandan media have said there was a dispute over money and control.
The seven LRA members arrived at the Entebbe International Airport accompanied by four commanders and three child combatants. They surrendered themselves this week to the U.N. peace mission MONUC in Congo.
LRA spokesman Godfrey Ayoo has said Otti is still alive, although he suffered cholera during a recent bout in his camp.
Kony and Otti have been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for war crimes committed during their armed campaign against the government.
Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) spokesman, Major Felix Kulayigye, said:
"It is unfortunate that Otti is dead, Otti survived us three times, we wounded him three times, he didn't die, it is unfortunate that he died during peace talks and as we have been told, the reason why he was killed is more disheartening, because apparently he wanted the peace talks to succeed and Kony did not want."
The war uprooted 2 million people in north Uganda alone and destabilised parts of Sudan and Congo.
A truce was signed at the Juba talks in August 2006.
But the LRA's top leaders have stayed hidden in Congo, fearing arrest if they show their faces.
Otti often spoke to mediators and reporters by satellite phone from his hideouts. But he fell silent in recent weeks and his various numbers went unanswered.
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