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Witness Was Prisoner of UPC

 A former soldier in Thomas Lubanga’s Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) told the court on Friday that he was arrested and held prisoner at the militia’s headquarters in the city of Bunia.

“We were locked into the rooms and the guard [was] there to make sure we could not get away,” said the witness, who was identified in court by the number 89.

The witness had been trained at a military camp run by Ugandans, he said, but was considered a deserter after apparently leaving the group.

Bodyguards from that camp turned him over to members of the UPC in 2002, when he was about 17-years-old, he said.

He was kept at the UPC headquarters for two days, he said, before being transferred to the UPC training camp in Mandro, about 12 miles outside of Bunia.

The witness said people at the time referred to the UPC as “Thomas’s group,” in reference to its leader Thomas Lubanga.

“At the beginning, the UPC was not very well known,” the witness said.

Most of today’s proceedings were conducted in closed session. The trial will continue on Tuesday, June 23.