News / Africa

Debate Continues Over Uganda Army Role in South Sudan Conflict

Uganda People's Defence Force troops ride through the streets of Bor, Jonglei State, on January 19 during South Sudan's month-long internal conflict.Uganda People's Defence Force troops ride through the streets of Bor, Jonglei State, on January 19 during South Sudan's month-long internal conflict.
x
Uganda People's Defence Force troops ride through the streets of Bor, Jonglei State, on January 19 during South Sudan's month-long internal conflict.
Uganda People's Defence Force troops ride through the streets of Bor, Jonglei State, on January 19 during South Sudan's month-long internal conflict.
Reuben Kyama
Speakers at a Nairobi forum sponsored by the Rift Valley Institute expressed concern for the future of South Sudan following a ceasefire agreement brokered in Addis Ababa late last week. Participants also raised issues concerning the presence of Ugandan forces in the conflict.

The negotiations were held by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the regional body that was drawn into the brutal conflict following reports that Ugandan troops were battling alongside government forces loyal to President Silva Kiir.

Rev. James Ninrew of the Presbyterian Church of Sudan questions the neutrality of the peace process, if Uganda - a key member of the IGAD – takes sides in the conflict.

"As civil society organizations, we condemn negative intervention into the South Sudanese affairs because that is inviting further crisis rather than solving the problem," says Rev. Ninrew.

Is Uganda's military playng a neutral role?

"So for that, we are not for it. We are even questioning the role of Uganda or any other country from East Africa that is taking sides and also wants to sit at the table to mediate people.

Listen to debate over Uganda army intervention
Listen to debate over Uganda army interventioni
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

"Is IGAD the only body that can do that? If IGAD continues doing that, getting involved in the war and at the same time sitting at the table, I think the voice of the South Sudanese will say no."

But Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohamed, says Ugandan troops are deployed in South Sudan to provide security for the troubled country at vital state installations, such as airports. She said the IGAD negotiating team was credible enough to carry on with the peace talks between President Salvar Kiir and his former vice-president, Riek Machar.

"On the presence of Ugandan troops in South Sudan, what I can tell you is this…when we had the IGAD summit here - if you look at the communiqué - the efforts to protect major installations such as airports were efforts that were welcome because we felt that they would provide an opportunity to take humanitarian assistance into South Sudan…

"That if those installations weren’t protected, it would be very difficult to convince flights into South Sudan. It was only when after these major installations were safe, they were secure that’s the only time planes could land."

Is the conflict ethnic or political?

Pundits say that violence sparked a political dispute between Mr. Kiir and his former deputy on Dec. 15 that escalated into full-scale ethnic conflict. 

Jok Madut Jok, co-founder of Sudd Institute, an independent research organization based in South Sudan, says the issues and the solution are complex. Jok said the parties need to "build into that final agreement a lot of mechanisms that will ensure crafting the country together …

"You need to give room to justice and accountability for acts of violence committed during this war. You need to address the injuries inflicted upon various ethnic communities so that as to repair the ethnic relations….

"That way people will invest in the idea that they are citizens of the nation not citizens of their communities. You need to build on the constitution so that the people’s voices and aspirations can be represented through it."

The world's newest nation may be fallign apart, cautioned Ms. Apuk Mayen, a South Sudanese diplomat working to increase women’s participation in formal peace processes.

"We are almost repeating the same mistakes that other African countries have made," she said. "I think we have failed because we fail to recognize that our tribes are actually political organizations. They have their own super structures.

"We have elements within our culture to govern ourselves, to mobilize ourselves to war. We are seeing this in some of the things happening."

If yoi feel threatened, she said, "you have mechanisms on how to protect and defend yourself.

"Unfortunately, in this construct of a state, it doesn’t work because we haven’t reconciled the state to this existing political organization that we have. I feel there are real questions that we need to ask ourselves."

The United Nations say thousands of people were killed in the fighting, and hundreds of thousands have been driven from their homes.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: GatNor from: Juba
January 28, 2014 12:02 AM
Why did things escalated quickly into ethnic tensions? you would to go back to dec/15/2013 of the targeting mass murder of the ethnic Nuers in Juba by the government forces privately trained and funded by the presidential orders. That's what started all the other ethnic target killing in other states. The international community and the media outlets avoid mentioning Juba genocide in support of of the government who have committed human rights violations and practicing all out dictatorship policies. THIS IS AN EXCEPTABLE and it must stop. If it does not stop the world countries shall be blame for aiding mass killing and appeasing a regime as such. Please click on this and see for youself that Ugandan are fighting against one ethnic tribe called Nuer on behave of the South Sudan government based on a falsify coup to justify ethnic cleansing.The UPDF have killed in Jonglei State, South Sudan: http://www.southsudan.net/

In Response

by: Adu T. Ismail from: Arua
January 28, 2014 6:51 AM
I thinks it is high time the South Sudanese must appreciate the sacrifices Uganda is making for Southern Sudan. Most unfortunately the Southern Sudanese are people who will never appreciate what ever is done to them. One thing i would like to assure GotNor is that UPDF is a professional army and to say that they have killed people is absolute nonsense. Just imagine if UPDF had not timely intervened what would have happened to both the Dinkas and the Nuers. Another Rwanda genocide was already going to happen. It did happen in Bor some years back and this was committed by very Rak Machar who keeps switching from one side to the other.

He confirmed this during Late John Garang's funeral.How do you trust such a leader who betrayed the southerner during the struggle. If he wants power why doesn't he use the ballot. Why doesn't he form another party and contest elections and if people want him, he is voted in. It is time Africa must wake up and stop such war mongers who cause the suffering of children, women and the elderly and stop change of government by the barrel of the gun. My appeal to the Southern Sudanese is they shouldn't support war. They should thank Uganda for stopping the genocide. It is time they should behave like civilized people. We are all brothers and sisters. We share many things in common


by: Tut Nhankiir from: Nairobi
January 27, 2014 10:46 PM
Museveni has fail south sudan and he is no longer anything of worth to the new nation though he has the trust of the president. we have lose so many live already through his wrong advice to kiir and now he should leave south sudan to south sudanese and go back to deal with James Konye

In Response

by: Muwonge from: Kampala
January 27, 2014 11:37 PM
If Uganda had not intervened when it did, Machar would be in Juba and the killings you have seen, would be like a small party. He would have killed much much more like he did in Bor some years back.

This is the same man who is friends with Joseph Kony. Therefore, M7 did the right thing. Fought Kony before he was able to start, by defending Kir against Machar.


by: Ann Garrison
January 27, 2014 10:24 PM
Can you really be serious in asking this question at this point? "Is Uganda's military playing a neutral role?" Museveni told Machar he was coming for him, though he seems to have spoken without IGAD's agreement. http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/I-will-come-for-you---Museveni-warns-Machar/-/688334/2129754/-/qri656/-/index.html

In Response

by: Adu Twaha Ismail from: Arua
January 28, 2014 7:10 AM
Why should Uganda play a neutral role. We do not trust Machar. Such people should be brought to their knees. He is a war monger and hungry for power. He should use the ballot not the gun.


by: Bol from: Bor
January 27, 2014 10:14 PM
Some clowns in the West are fixated on the Uganda's involvement in South Sudan conflict. But they silent to condemn the attempted coup by Riek Machar and the open violent rebellion that ensued.

Instead, they they are shopping for another country in East Africa to Jump into fray and then the West game of divide and conquer would complete!

Africans are starting to grow up, the West will continue to hedge a few idiots like Riek Machar though, But East Africans have better things to do than being jolted by some war mongers in the West to intervene in South Sudan conflicts just because Uganda have forces in South Sudan, then another country in the region should also intervene on behave of Riek Machar, a violent rebel!?

Kenya has forces in Somalia and so does Uganda. So what is special about South Sudan. No one wants coups and armed rebellion in the region.

Riek Machar is even lucky to have been given time and negotiation. Otherwise the whole region would have gone after him. Refugee all the time is becoming unbearable.

In Response

by: Joseph from: South Sudan
January 28, 2014 1:09 AM
Uganda has right as an IGAD member to support South Sudan elected government in this current crisis playing her role to sustain peace in East Africa. This is to discourage unjustified wars not only in South Sudan but in Africa as a whole.
As Uganda puts it, African countries should not look on as their fellow African are dying waiting help from US,EU and UN.

In Response

by: GatNor from: Juba
January 28, 2014 12:15 AM
Too much lies, No coup, ethnic target killing in Juba dec/15/2013 and that's agenocide. Uganda must leave South Sudan and not illegally occupy our territory of a sovergn nation. Release all falsly detained politicians and we might start getting some peace talk going. Refusal of the above mentioned means the war must continue. It wouldn't matter if its on tribal lines or not. The national government of South Sudan has already declared it(war) on the targeted ethnic who was butchered, massively killed(genocide) without any of the victims being affiliated with the accused false coup. unarmed women and children do not orchestrate coup.

In Response

by: Muwonge from: Kampala
January 27, 2014 11:33 PM
I couldnt agree with you more. Its a well written response. We cant keep running all the time! Then when will we have time to grow crops, harvest them and feed our families, develop our countries? This sort of thing must stop.

Machar is just a war mongering selfish person that has no place in leadership. Imagine if Uganda had not intervened within two days. Juba would be under Marchar and with alot of people dead. He is the same fellow, who killed hundreds of people in Bor some years back, supported Kony, joined the arabs in the north against his own people, then switched sides again to fight the arabs.

How can you trust such a person with responsible leadership?

Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid