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SSPDF-accuses UPDF of behaving like chameleon

By Gilo Jr. Okwata

The South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) has accused the Ugandan Counterpart, the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) of exhibiting characters of chameleon.

Speaking to Juba Monitor Yesterday, the spokesperson of SSPDF, Maj.General Lul Ruai Koang said that the Uganda army were acting like chameleon in regards to the recent incident in which two of the SSPDF soldiers were killed by the UPDF along South Sudan-Uganda border.

“In my opinion, Ugandan People’s Defense Forces are behaving like a chameleon, they are showing chameleonic behaviors, they also show signs of being insubordinate to the political leadership because if the political leadership is in good terms with us and they are not, then that is insubordination or maybe they are trying to communicate something that we may not know,” Ruai said.

The spokesperson stated that the goodwill shown by political leadership in Uganda to the people of South Sudan should be or ought to have been reflected on the ground by the UPDF to maintain better relationship because such provocative actions were not militarily healthy for both countries. According to Ruai this was the third time an incident of such kind happened in which the country lost her servicemen in the hands of UPDF.

“You cannot claim to have good political relationship if the two armies are not in good terms, these two things must go together, if the political relationship between Uganda and South Sudan is cordial, then it must be reflected by the two armies especially by the UPDF, because an army as you know is a political instrument. So how do you differentiate between the thinking of the army and political thinking?  

Maj Gen. Ruai urged the highest authority in Uganda especially the Commander-in-Chief to intervene and deal with hostile elements in the UPDF rank and if necessary, to bring those rogue operatives to account.

The Spokesperson described the incident that preceded his statements, “on the 27th October, 2020, at 1 pm, our forces, the SSPDF who were deployed at Pogee area, in Magwi County, a small border town between South Sudan and Uganda, observed unusual movements of vehicles and the intelligent officers decided to check on the cars which were moving up and down on the South Sudan border, then approaching the area, the officers saw a vehicle full of UPDF. The Uganda army started shooting instantly on the SSPDF soldiers. Then when the other officers who were at their post heard the gunshots, they also came to find out what was going on, they immediately met with the UPDF and there were exchanges of fire resulting to the loss of two SSPDF personnel and one military intelligent officer was also captured.”

However, he added that immediately after the incidence, the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces leadership established a communication contact with the Ugandan counterpart by notifying the UPDF about what had happened and they declared that they were not ready for war with South Sudan and they would soon handover the remains of the SSPDF soldiers, the rifles the they had taken and the captive serviceman to authority of South Sudan. The handing over would be done on Wednesday but due to command issues it did not but the spokesperson promised that, it would take place within twenty four hours.

According to Ruai, the Ugandan forces have been encroaching and grabbing land along the border, all the way from the side of Kajo-keji to Chukudum among others, and when they grab land, they embark on commercial activities, cultivation and settle their citizens and use military power to back up the land they had grabbed. He termed it as part of land grabbing policy backed up by use of military force.

Meanwhile, Support Peace Initiative Development Organization (SPIDO) in a press statement released yesterday urged the leaderships of the UPDF and SSPDF to take full responsibility to ensure their junior forces cease hostilities against one another since they are not enemies but friends.

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