News / Africa

Uganda Denies Troops Supporting South Sudan Leader

Internally displaced boys stand next to barbed wire inside a United Nations Missions in Sudan (UNMIS) compound in Juba December 19, 2013.
Internally displaced boys stand next to barbed wire inside a United Nations Missions in Sudan (UNMIS) compound in Juba December 19, 2013.
Peter Clottey
A spokesman for Uganda’s Foreign Ministry has denied reports that the government in Kampala sent troops from the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) to support South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in the ongoing conflict in Africa’s newest nation.

Fred Opolot said the UPDF troops would this week attempt to rescue about 2,000 Ugandan citizens trapped in South Sudan. The conflict there between supporters of President Kiir and the former vice president, Riek Marcher has reportedly left more than 500 people killed, and has forced tens of thousands of people to flee from their homes.

“Our major concern is to ensure that [our citizens] are safe, and if not they are evacuated so that process is ongoing,” said Opolot. “Uganda People’s Defense Forces [are] in Juba to secure the airport, in order to ensure that the evacuation process goes very smoothly.”

The violence in South Sudan erupted after President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, accused former vice president Riek Machar, a Nuer, of attempting a coup.  Machar, who is in hiding, denied the accusation.

Opolot rejected suspicions that President Yoweri Museveni supported South Sudan’s leader in the conflict.

“Those suspicions are completely unfounded,” said Opolot.  “We have a lot of Ugandans in South Sudan and their security is of the most importance for us right now. It is our focus.  So in as far as the UPDF is in South Sudan to prop up Salva Kiir, that is not true, and they are unfounded.”

Last week, President Barack Obama sent 45 U.S. service personnel to the region on a mission he said is aimed at protecting U.S. personnel and the U.S. embassy.  In a White House statement issued during the weekend, President Obama stressed the importance of the U.S. evacuation mission and said South Sudan's leaders had a responsibility to assist U.S. efforts.

Opolot said the government in Kampala was ensuring that citizens trapped due to the conflict in neighboring South Sudan are safe and would evacuate those directly affected by the conflict.

He expressed concern about the safety of Ugandan citizens trapped in Jonglei state at the U.N. base where there have been reports of fierce fighting.  Opolot said Uganda troops would this week attempt to evacuate citizens from the U.N. base.

“UPDF will attempt to make sure that they are rescued.  But obviously, they have been facing some fire from the fighters there,” said the spokesman.

He said Uganda wanted to be part of the solution to help resolve the conflict in South Sudan.

“At the onset of these troubles, President Museveni did try to engage Salva Kiir,” said Opolot.

He said Uganda’s minister for international relations was part of the African Union-led delegation that held a series of meetings with both warring parties as part of an effort to resolve the conflict.

Clottey interview with Fred Opolot, Uganda foreign ministry spokesman
Clottey interview with Fred Opolot, Uganda foreign ministry spokesmani
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lwanga Charles from: Kampala Uganda
December 23, 2013 2:30 AM
Uganda participated in the first revolution of liberating the nation of South Sudan. But currently the affairs of south sudan is not all about fighting on political grounds but just asevere war between the Dinkas and Noeurs. i believe Uganda cant participate indirectly in the current affairs of South Sudan.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid