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SSPDF, UDPF in bilateral talks in Uganda

By James Atem Kuir

A high-ranking South Sudan Peoples Defense Forces (SSPDF) delegation is in Uganda discussing ways to strengthen bilateral military ties with their Ugandan counterpart.

The acting SSPDF spokesperson, Santo Domic Chol confirmed to Juba Monitor yesterday that delegation headed by the SSPDF Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Johnson Juma Okot travelled to Uganda late last week.

“The delegation is in Uganda to strengthen bilateral relations as a result of last month’s misunderstanding that actually took place between individuals within the SSPDF and the UPDF. So, it’s just about strengthening bilateral relations so that any inconvenience in the future is avoided,” Santo Domic said.

According to a story ran by Ugandan news outlet, the Daily Monitor, Gen. JJ Okot and other senior officers accompanying him held a meeting with Lt Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) deputy chief of defence forces among other senior military officers from UPDF at the 4th Division Barracks in Gulu city on Friday last week. 

The meeting reportedly discussed ways to settle the recent series of clashes between the two forces at their common borderlines, cause reconciliation and derive a way forward to peaceful coexistence between the two countries. 

“We have come here to make peace. How do we put our hands together and chat the best way forward for us to live together, take care of our countries and authorities,” Gen Okot was quoted as saying by the news agency. 

The last week meeting resolved that the two armies conduct induction and sensitization of forces on both sides to help build mutual interests in the area of security.

It also tasked the two countries with guaranteeing the security and welfare of nationals of both countries once in either country to do work or business, and also required the UPDF to support SSPDF in training and human resource development of its forces.

Last month, two SSPDF soldiers were killed and another captured after skirmishes broke out between the two armies in disputed area in Pogee Eastern Equatoria. 

SSPDF and UPDF accused each other of failing to respect their territorial boundaries along common borderlines.

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