Uganda accused of plotting to return to South Sudan

From left to right: South Sudan’s kiir, Uganda’s Museveni, and James Wani Igga. Photo: VOA/Getty Images/file
From left to right: South Sudan’s kiir, Uganda’s Museveni, and James Wani Igga. Photo: VOA/Getty Images/file

Kampala/Juba, May 21, 2016 (SSNA) — Uganda’s national army, Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), has been accused of conspiring with elements of Salva Kiir’s government to create a story that would then allow Ugandan government legitimacy to order UPDF to re-enter the violence-wracked young nation.

The accusation came weeks after South Sudan’s rival factions formed a transitional government.

On the 18th of May, a document a copy of which was extended to the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) was sent to media. In the text, the document alleges that the UPDF contacted a Liaison Office of South Sudan’s national army, SPLA, telling the personnel that the Sudan People’s Liberation-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) has kidnapped at least 20 Ugandans.

The statement also claims that Uganda’s military told its South Sudan’s counterpart, SPLA-IG, that it is preparing to enter into South Sudan to rescue Ugandans it said were abducted by soldiers of the SPLA-IO.

“On the 18th of May 2016, a reliable source in Gulu…said that the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) reported a fabricate[d] story to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army of Juba (SPLA) Liaison Office in Gulu…that Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) kidnapped 20 people of Uganda citizens,” the statement reads in part.

“The UPDF forces said that they wanted to pursue the kidnapers inside South Sudan territory to rescue their citizens; the UPDF made this fabrication as a reason to return to South Sudan,” the document added.

The group which distributed the text brands the purported plot as “an evil plan” and calls on IGAD-Plus, JMEC, and the United Nations (UN), Troika, and the African Union (AU) to investigate, adding that the plan is not good for the implementation of the power-sharing deal.

Ugandan military left South Sudan last year after an internationally-brokered pact was signed last August by South Sudan’s warring factions.

There are also rumors which suggest that Uganda has hidden at least one battalion of its special forces in a secure area inside South Sudan, allowing it to intervene at any time if Kiir asks.

The SSNA has confirmed that the letter was released to the media by a group of people who call themselves “concerned citizens of south Sudan.”

One of our reporters in Juba was told by two high-ranking officers of the armed opposition that they are fully aware of the alleged claim and refused to elaborate further, citing SPLA-IO military directives.

The South Sudan News Agency cannot independently verify the authenticity of claim.

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