Sunday, March 8

Fake rebels?

Back in January, media started reporting that one of the deputy leaders in the Lord's Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group based now in eastern Congo, was about to turn himself in. Okot Odhiambo was said to be in discussions with the Ugandan government and the International Organization on Migration on how to surrender. As with most things concerning the LRA, details were sketchy. So far Odhiambo hasn't turned up, and now Uganda's New Vision is reporting that it might be a hoax. According to Walter Ochora, a district commissioner in northern Uganda:
“I highly doubted it was Odhiambo. You can’t pick a phone and say ‘I am Odhiambo’, when still under the command of Joseph Kony. That would be madness, Odhiambo could not make that mistake,” said Ochora.
The first indication of the defection being a hoax appeared when it was revealed that Odhiambo, the laidback, but vicious LRA commander spoke English, when he called both the organisation and AFP news agency. Odhiambo, however, speaks only Luo and Kiswahili. It is also being questioned as to how he accessed telephone contacts and got to know about the IOM organisation.

Two points: 1) "Laidback but vicious" is a great descriptor, the kind of thing that would look great on the "about me" section of Odhiambo's Facebook profile. 2) This again raises the question of what level of credentials someone needs to show, beyond having a satellite phone and a marginal command of English, when they present themselves to organizations, or journalists, as a rebel commander in Darfur or a pirate in Somalia, or a member of the LRA.

1 comment:

Aaron said...

Ha, interesting.

Maybe we need IRICs?