KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — The fugitive leader of a Ugandan rebel group operating in eastern Congo has been arrested in Tanzania, Ugandan officials said on Thursday.
Ugandan police spokesman Fred Enanga told The Associated Press that authorities believe Jamil Mukulu, who had been on the run since the 1990s as leader of an Islamic extremist group known as Allied Democratic Forces, is in the custody of Tanzanian security officials.
The U.S.-sanctioned Mukulu had been the subject of an Interpol arrest warrant for attacks carried out against civilians.
A Ugandan security official confirmed Mukulu had been positively identified with the help of a relative in Uganda, after photos of the man in custody were shared between Ugandan and Tanzanian security officials.
"One of his relatives has confirmed that Mukulu is the one in custody," said the official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press before an official announcement.
Mukulu, a convert to Islam who developed a reputation as an elusive rebel leader, is expected to be repatriated to Uganda, where he is accused of committing a range of crimes, including a horrific 1998 massacre in which scores of students were burned to death while asleep in their dormitories in a town near the Congo border.
The ADF, which originally said it opposed what it called the marginalization of Ugandan Muslims, is also accused of launching a series of deadly bomb blasts in the Ugandan capital of Kampala in the late 1990s before a military operation forced the rebels to set up camp in eastern Congo.
The rebels have largely been quiet over the years, staging sporadic attacks on towns in eastern Congo and against Congolese military units.
A U.N. report in 2012 said ADF rebels had "expanded their military capacity and cooperated" with Somalia's al-Shabab militants.