News and Views
‘Uganda not meddling in Sudan conflict’
The spokesman for Uganda’s People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) said his country is not trying to get involved in tensions between Sudan and South Sudan.
Colonel Felix Kulayigye said any intervention in the affairs of a neighboring country would be contrary to Uganda’s peacekeeping role in Somalia.
According to Voice of America, Kulayigye said allegations Uganda is supporting Sudanese rebels are a ploy to deflect attention from what he calls Khartoum’s own internal contradictions.
“Our military does not have any reason to interfere in Sudan. We have been actually asking the two sides — both Sudan and South Sudan — to solve their problems amicably; that shows you we treasure peaceful co-existence,” he said.
Khartoum had accused Kampala of giving assistance to Justice and Equality Movement rebels, who have been fighting Sudan for almost a decade.
Kulayigye said it is impossible for Uganda to harbor Sudanese rebels, as alleged by Khartoum, because Uganda has no borders with north Sudan.
“We have always accommodated refugees from our neighbors in accordance with the UN Charter. However, we have no rebels here against Sudan. After all, we have no border with Sudan. So, how can we harbor anybody?” Kulayigye said.
He said Khartoum has used its accusations of foreign interference to gain domestic and international sympathy.
“The Khartoum regime has been running propaganda against Kampala since May last year. How can anyone in their sober mind say Uganda has banked $2 billion to the rebels? And, I would think maybe they have their own contradictions and, therefore, they must portray, or present, an external enemy, so as to get internal unity,” he said.
Kulayigye said Uganda has more oil than South Sudan, in response to allegations Kampala might be supporting South Sudan in its current conflict with the north for South Sudan’s oil.
He accused Khartoum of resuming support for Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels.
“Last month, we captured an LRA officer dressed in a brand new uniform, and he told us they had been supplied by Khartoum. And, since they do not manufacture clothes in Central African Republic, we have no reason to doubt this officer,” Kulayigye said.
Kulayigye’s comments followed remarks this week by Security Minister Muruli Mukasa that Uganda is ready to deal with any attacks, if the war between Sudan and South Sudan spills over into Uganda.
Mukasa was quoted as saying that Uganda is already losing a lot in bilateral trade because of the ongoing conflict since South Sudan, one of its main trading partners.