With the northern Uganda peace process faltering, the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) has confirmed that it ordered the Ugandan army out of its territory following confirmation that UPDF troops have been masquerading as LRA rebels and attacking the local population.
The Sudan Tribune reported in Juba on Friday that GoSS Vice President, Dr Riek Machar Teny, revealed that President Salva Kiir Mayardit took the decision to throw out the Uganda People’s Defence Forces from Southern Sudan territory as early as June 8.
In his briefing to the Council of Ministers meeting which he chaired on Friday, Dr Machar said President Kiir instructed the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Oyai Deng Ajak to communicate the order to his Uganda army counterpart in Kampala.
He said the decision was reached June 7 in the Southern Sudan Security Committee meeting chaired by President Kiir Mayardit.
He explained that he was just informing the Parliament about the government’s decision to expel the UPDF.
Dr Machar, however, pointed out that there is no operational protocol under which the UPDF can continue maintaining a presence in Southern Sudan, saying they came to Sudan through an agreement with the Khartoum government which expired in 2006.
Dr Machar added that the SPLA is now an organised army that should take charge of security in the territory of Southern Sudan.
Dr Machar said Mr Ndinyenka told him that the materials “just got lost from the UPDF [who were] in pursuit of the LRA in the area”.
The CHMT comprises military officers from Republic of South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Southern Sudan and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
The CHMT was established in accordance with the agreement signed by the Uganda government and the LRA to monitor any violations of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed by the two parties in Juba on August 26, 2006.
The team is led by SPLA’s Maj. Gen. Wilson Deng Kuoirot.
In the verification report submitted to office of the Chief Mediator, the CHMT observed that evidence of materials found at the scene, where the body of an unidentified person was found, implicated the UPDF masquerading as LRA.
A document recovered near the body had full names of suspected UPDF soldiers indicating “Section II, Platoon I, ‘A’ Coy”, and military ranks including army numbers.
The CHMT Leader recommends that a further investigation be carried out to identify the culprits and apprehend them.
However, on Saturday acting UPDF Publicist, Capt. Chris Magezi said they have not yet received any formal communication from Southern Sudan about the directive to withdraw.
“As far as we are concerned, there is no formal communication yet in that regard,” he said on telephone yesterday.
Asked why UPDF was still in Southern Sudan yet its mandate had already expired, Capt. Magezi said they were there because of the good relationship with the SPLA.
“We couldn’t have been there without the will of the Government of Southern Sudan. Unless there are other strong reasons which they have not told the world,” he added.
The current stand-off between Uganda and Southern Sudan who have been allies for decades stems from the June 19 attack in Nyongwa Village and earlier ones in Nabanga . The attacks in Nyongwa led to the death of 31-year-old Jino Moga Mandara.