Top LRA commander killed // new details

Top LRA commander Binani

From Invisible Children CEO Ben Keesey:

“Today, the world learned that another top LRA commander, Vincent Binani Okumu was tracked, located and killed during a confrontation with the Ugandan military. Binani was known as one of Kony’s most brutal commanders who oversaw massacres and directed LRA forces in the abduction and killing of innocent civilians. Up until Friday he had been – and would have continued – murdering, raping, and abducting innocent people. While we do not celebrate the death of any individual, we celebrate that he can no longer commit such atrocities.”

As we reported earlier today, Lt. Col. Vincent Okumu Binanso, aka Binani, was killed by Ugandan military forces this past Friday in the northeastern corner of the Central African Republic. Although young, Binani was one of Joseph Kony’s top 10 commanders. His death comes just eight months after the capture of Maj. General Caesar Achellam, another of Kony’s top commanders.

This weekend’s events deal a significant blow to LRA operations in DR Congo and weaken its ability to carry out attacks in and around Garamba National Park, a historically-significant base for LRA operations in DR Congo. We wish that Binani had been captured, not killed, but we are glad that he is no longer able to inflict death and violence on innocent people in central Africa.

What we know:

• Binani was in charge of LRA operations in DR Congo

Binani was promoted into the command of LRA groups in DR Congo sometime between 2009 and 2010. He oversaw the brutal establishment of the group in northeastern DR Congo, which became the epicenter of LRA attacks in central Africa. Under his command the frequency and severity of LRA attacks in the country was the highest in the region. According to interviews in the field with community members and former LRA fighters, Binani had a reputation for being especially brutal in his attacks against civilians and even towards the troops under his command. According to the LRA Crisis Tracker, the LRA committed 776 attacks resulting in 630 civilian deaths and 1,264 abductions in DR Congo between 2010 and 2012.

• He oversaw the Makombo Massacres

Under the command of Binani, the LRA killed 321 civilians and abducted an additional 250 over the course of four days in December of 2009. The attack was one of the deadliest in LRA history and included gruesome tactics. A 2010 Human Rights Watch report detailed the attack: “The vast majority of those killed were adult men, whom LRA combatants first tied up and then hacked to death with machetes or crushed their skulls with axes and heavy wooden sticks. The dead include at least 13 women and 23 children, the youngest a 3-year-old girl who was burned to death. LRA combatants tied some of the victims to trees before crushing their skulls with axes.”

• Binani is from Uganda

The LRA is a top-heavy organization, and all of its officers are Ugandan. Because no non-Ugandans have been elevated within the group, each Ugandan commander removed from the battlefield greatly reduces the LRA’s capacity for violence.

• Binani was a young, up-and-coming commander

Kony has been promoting younger LRA officers over older ones, presumably because he is more confident in the young officers’ loyalty. Binani was reportedly promoted to the command of LRA groups in DR Congo in the midst of a falling out between Kony and ICC-indicted Brigadier General Dominic Ongwen.

• What Invisible Children is doing now

In the upcoming weeks and months, LRA fighters and commanders will be far more likely to surrender–especially the men and women who were under Binani’s command. That’s why Invisible Children and its partners will continue to use fliers, FM broadcasts and helicopter speaker messaging to inform LRA combatants of Binani’s death and direct them to safe surrender sites.

Invisible Children’s “come home” programs are possible because of the consistent generosity of TRI donors and everyone who has helped fund our life-saving projects.

17 Responses

  1. Andrea says:

    Very impressed & happy with the wording of this update! Death should not be celebrated but the safety his death brings is something to celebrate! Keeping all the invisible children and the organization in my prayers, one more stepping stone passed!

  2. Therese Ziehr says:

    Thanks for this update. Although you are correct In saying his death can not be celebrated. Thank God he can not harm anyone else. Just knowing this is cause for celebration. Lets keep praying that more of these leaders will be captured. As well, lets hope that they will discover what their doing is absolutely tragic. The atrocities these people are facing are beyond anything I could ever imagine.

  3. Stephanie says:

    This is well said: “[w]e wish that Binani had been captured, not killed, but we are glad that he is no longer able to inflict death and violence on innocent people in central Africa.”

  4. Chris says:

    This man (used loosely) deserved to be killed. Why would anyone wish him captured alive? He deserves a far worse punishment than death, but he also needs to be vanquished from the earth as quickly as possible and with as little cost to anyone as possible.

    You don’t even need to dig a hole for this guy.

    • Andrew says:

      Chris, please read what is written on the top right under invisible children inc. it starts off with this sentence: “We believe in the equal and inherent value of all human life.” Even though he might have done horrible things, he was still a human being after all. I’m afraid a comment like yours, only shows how similar the mindset of a criminal and a non-criminal are.

      Thank you IC for the well worded update.

      • Therese Ziehr says:

        I whole heartedly agree with your response. We can not solve a problem with the same mind that created it, therefore wishing anything bad or tragic against these LRA leaders is not a solution. It just adds to the problems that already exists. It’s a vicious circle of hatred. We have got to get off the “treadmill” and think differently.

      • natetheungreat says:

        well said

    • Rebecca says:

      hat is a cruel thing to say he may be a horrible person with no sense of what is right and wrong but death is nothing to be happy about. Somewhere there is someone who cared about him. If you want to see the good in his death the celebrate the fact he can’t hurt people any more, celebrate that it gives people a better chance of escaping the horrid things that would have been done to them. Celebrate that we are one step closer to ending Kony’s. Plan and army, but do not celebrate that some one has died it makes you almost as bad as them.

  5. Loyal Merrick says:

    Yay!! I celebrate his death. And I’m not wrong for doing so.

  6. Freddiejay says:

    Why not celebrate his death? Do you realize the hideous nature of this mans crimes? I think many will celebrate indeed! Any blow to Kony and his top dogs is a good one. Now come after me and tell me about the sanctity of life but I bet you’d feel differently if it was a family member this guy brutally killed. I say stick a bone in his ass and let the dogs carry him away!

    • Jordan says:

      This may be true, but do mind your language. It is kind of nice now that we know there is one less evil in the world, but personally, I would not celebrate yet. I will only celebrate when the LRA is gone, or we may give ourselves false hope. A stepping stone indeed it is, but I must say that more progress needs to be made if we are to celebrate. This may actually get worse considering that they may just continue to do their attacks just because they don’t want to give up what they’ve come to know. Though I must agree with Ziehr that we should not resort to violence unless absolutely necessary. I am not agreeing nor agreeing with your views, so I can only hope that you will not this comment personally or offensively.

  7. As an ex South African, I celebrate a mindset that can see both perpetrator and victim as God’s children. The evil acts come from deep and tortured fear, shame and pain. This is not an excuse but a truth that has to be recognized. There are no bad people – only bad actions. Let us continue to work for reconciliation and forgiveness at the same time stopping evil actions. No one is innocent and no-one is beyond redemption.

  8. Ana Hebbard says:

    Praise the Lord that some of the violence is being stopped by this action. Though his death may be tragic, we can celebrate the victory that is gained in the prevention of further destruction and terror. God has a plan for this nation, may He push through and find victory over the evil in that country.

  9. Owiredu Charles says:

    This is one of the excellent news that the world is waiting for. Brutal killings, raping, torturing and murdering innocent people should be stopped by any means available. This rude guy is neutralized to rest in his evil kingdom forever. Thanks for the good job done!!

  10. ALLY KENNEDY says:

    This has been just one more thing to add to a great day. We are THAT MUCH CLOSER!!!!! What a great accomplishment! You can definitely count on me to be celebrating!

  11. Jill says:

    Deuteronomy 13:5
    New International Version (NIV)
    5 That prophet or dreamer must be put to death for inciting rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. That prophet or dreamer tried to turn you from the way the Lord your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.

  12. Leen Vermeylen says:

    Great work guys and thank you so much for your engagement and bringing this to the world and our attention.

Leave a Reply