This picture, from almost exactly ten years ago, tells an important and sad story. Depicted are fighters who composed the core of Kony’s personal security team in 2006, posing for British journalist Sam Farmar, who interviewed Kony in June 2006.
At least two of the men here were killed on Kony’s orders, and one escaped before he was to be executed on Kony’s orders.Only one fighter still remains with Kony and his ever shrinking group. This photo is a testament to Kony’s paranoia and delusion which have brought about a gradual and likely irreversible unravelling of the LRA.
Photo Credit: Sam Farmar.
Squatting, holding the large (PKM) belt-fed machine gun, is Okello Doke, above him with the ‘I heart Uganda’ hat is Okang, both killed on Kony’s orders at the end of 2012. To Okang’s left, wearing a blue shirt and holding a Galil, likely stolen from the slain Guatemalan peacekeepers in 2006, is George Okot ‘Odek,’ who escaped from Kony’s group in Kafia Kingi, earlier this year.
Kony ordered for Odek’s execution after having another veteran fighter, Major Kibwola, killed for ‘insubordination,’ late last year. Odek told me last week in Gulu, Northern Uganda, that Kony ‘has only a few people with guns protecting him.’ One of the last remaining veteran escorts to Kony, is Opiyo ‘Murefu’ (‘the tall one’ in Swahili), here appearing behind Odek, the tallest man in the photo.
Everyone else in the photo is likely either dead or out of the LRA.
(I am grateful to Sam Farmar for providing and allowing me to use his photo. Farmar’s account of meeting and interviewing Kony is fascinating. A version can be found here http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/5124762.stm)