The trial of Dominic Ongwen continued on Thursday 1st November 2018 with the testimony of the 8th Defence witness, D26-P-0150, a former LRA abductee turned LRA junior soldier.
According to the International Justice Monitor, he testified via video link and parts of his testimony were heard in private sessions.
The Defence Counsel for Dominic Ongwen, Mr Thomas Obhof questioned the witness D26-P-0150 about his abduction, life in the LRA and finally his life after he escaped.
The witness said that he was abducted by the LRA rebels on 3rd March 2000 when he was about 8 years old in Bario area (near Abok) in Uganda.
The individual who abducted the witness was called “Kenneth”, who later on, joined a larger group of abducted people in another area called Achokola. The larger LRA group including abducted civilians continued their journey to Loyo Ajoa where the witness learnt that the group that abducted him was called “Trinkle” brigade under Commander Lubul and that Kenneth was second in command.
The witness explained that “Kenneth” took him and trained him on how to assemble and dissemble a gun; how to shoot a gun; how to clean it among other training. After his training, the witness became “Kenneth” escort and his duties included carrying his bags, his chair and his gun.
The witness narrated various conflicts that he saw while he was in the LRA. One of the conflicts that he saw occurred in Kitgum between the LRA and the governement soldiers from the UPDF.
He explained that whenever an attack was planned by the LRA commanders, it was in “top secrets” meetings even escorts had to sit far away from the meeting. After the meetings soldiers were selected from the various brigades and brought together and instructions were issued and responsibilities were shared.
On this occasion, soldiers were selected from the Trinkle brigade and also from other brigades and were under the leadership of Okot Odhiambo (Senior LRA commander) who “was in charge” of the attack in Kitgum.
The purpose of this attack was “to collect guns” but the mission wasn’t successful because the guns collected “were not so many as required”, the witness explained.
After the attack in Kitgum the group moved to teso, where they were ambushed by the governement soldiers in a vicious battle and LRA commander “Tabu Ley” was killed the witness said.
A week later, “Kenneth” and “Lubul” were killed and the witness was moved to Okot Odhiambo’s group called “convoy”.
Regarding attacks in Abok, the witness confirmed that it took place on 6th August 2004 and that he was taken as an escort.
Several soldiers were taken from various brigades and brought together to fight in Abok the witness said.
Kalalang was “in charge” of the Abok attack and ordered the witness and other soldiers to “go and collect food”. The witness moved towards the civilian side of Abok camp to collect food and while there, he heard gunshots that were “getting intense” and so he fled.
The government soldiers were there and attacked the LRA group killing Commander Kalalang. The witness said that he heard many people were injured and others killed but he managed to flee and assemble at the meeting point with other LRA soldiers.
After the death of Kalalang, the witness was moved to Stockree brigade until his escape.
About his escape from the LRA, the witness said that he escaped in 2006 when he was 16 years old. The group that he was in, was sent to collect food from the civilian population and they were ambushed by government soldiers and he took this opportunity to escape.
He surrendered to the UPDF barracks in Ladie, and was moved to another barracks and finally taken to Rekele rehabilitation Center. The witness said while at the rehabilitation center, his parents came to visit him.
He said that he was happy to see his parents because he thought that they were killed. Krispus Ayena questioned the witness before examination -in-chief was concluded.