News / Africa

Uganda Parliament to Debate Additional Troops to South Sudan

Three children walk through a spontaneous camp for internally displaced persons at the United Nations Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Juba,  Jan. 9, 2014.
Three children walk through a spontaneous camp for internally displaced persons at the United Nations Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Juba, Jan. 9, 2014.
Peter Clottey
Uganda’s parliament plans to begin debate Tuesday about President Yoweri Museveni’s request seeking approval to deploy additional troops to South Sudan, to help stabilize the security situation there, according to legislator Muwanga Kivumbi Muhammed.

Muhammed, a leading member of the parliamentary committee on Defense and Internal Affairs says lawmakers will demand answers from the government on how long troops from the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) will stay in South Sudan, as well as the role they will play in the ongoing conflict.

Some parliamentarians accused President Yoweri Museveni of contravening the constitution by failing to seek parliamentary approval before deploying troops to South Sudan to evacuate Ugandan citizens trapped there due to the conflict.
“We want to know the level of involvement of Uganda in South Sudan and we are there on whose invitation? Which organ? Is it IGAD [regional bloc] is it the African Union? Which arrangement are we in South Sudan? Or are we there as a mercenary to help Salva Kiir. These details we need to know,” said Muhammed. 

Muhammed says the government has refused to provide legislators with the exact number of UPDF troops that have so far been deployed to South Sudan citing security concerns.

“[A minister] observed that the question of where our troops could be and how many should be deployed in South Sudan, is an operational detail which can jeopardize the lives of our troops and he was reluctant to give us the details,” said Muhammed.

South Sudan’s former vice president Riek Machar accused the UPDF of supporting troops loyal to President Salva Kiir in the conflict. Kampala denies the charge.

Some parliamentarians like Muhammed contend that the UPDF’s alleged support for Mr. Kiir could endanger the lives of more Ugandans in South Sudan, since Uganda could be seen as taking sides in the conflict.

“Uganda should not be seen to be partisan, in a conflict [of] a sovereign country. We also believe that troops and boots and guns cannot have a lasting solution to South Sudan,” said Muhammed. “We think this is squarely a political issue, which must have a political answer and therefore third party arbiters need to have clean hands and to be seen to be credible so that they can reinforce and earn the trust of both sides.”

Muhammed says the administration appears not to have an official request from South Sudan to deploy troops to that country.

“[We asked] do you have an official invitation by the government of South Sudan, requesting the intervention of Ugandan troops? The Defense Minister said it was only the office of the president [that] can answer that question,” said Muhammed.                                                
He says some lawmakers will pressure the administration to provide more answers about Ugandans in South Sudan.

“As of now they don’t know how many [citizens] have been killed in South Sudan [and] they don’t have exact figures of how many Ugandans are in South Sudan. No one has the figures,” said Muhammed. “We even don’t know which areas exactly are all Ugandans located.

Uganda foreign ministry spokesman Fred Opolot told VOA that the UPDF troops are in South Sudan to protect and evacuate citizens.

“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.”

Officials say over 20,000 Ugandans have been evacuated from South Sudan due to the South Sudan conflict.
Clottey interview with Muwanga Kivumbi Muhammed, Uganda parliamentarian
Clottey interview with Muwanga Kivumbi Muhammed, Uganda parliamentariani
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Comment Sorting
by: mayen ngor from: juba South sudan
January 15, 2014 8:01 AM
The disploy of Ugandan forces in s Sudan is something vary important and suitable because this can support our government in order to end up the rebel in our country

by: Tarjal Chuol from: Addis ababa
January 15, 2014 4:14 AM
Uganda involvement in the internal affair of s.Sudan will have nagetive impact on Ugandan gov't in the long run international relation.people of Uganda will still suffering despite the security gained by kirr in s.Sudan b/c internal conflict between civilian will continuous and could not leave Ugandan untouch b/c they are party to this involvement is already observed b/c many Uganda soldiers were killed in many clashes where rebel defeated the gov't farce and gots dead body of Uganda soldier.the defend that Uganda troops go there for evacuation is some how vague b/c even the war field is very far from where Ugandan citezen to be evacuated are located.

by: freddie from: kampala
January 14, 2014 12:32 PM
its not under museven or ug i live wid south sudans under going education i ug i feel it wen i hear is village is gone so wat in the world wil some one let people kill each other anless u hav an intession of taking over their country

by: Michelle from: Nairobi
January 14, 2014 7:27 AM
In addition I find it rather strange that the decision of whether or not to send in more troops is being discussed in Kampala. What say does South Sudan have in all this? There should be at the very least some form of request through the AU for additional support. Is it being unilaterally decided by Uganda?

by: solomon Balikurungi from: Kampala
January 14, 2014 5:03 AM
As Africans we love peace,there is no way you see neighbors killing each other and you remain in your home to enjoy the meal.I support our beloved president in his goal towards peace in Africa
long live H.E. Y.K.M
In Response

by: Michelle from: Nairobi
January 14, 2014 7:22 AM
I honestly cannot understand why in the world Uganda is poking its nose into other peoples business. How is a country sovereign if you have foreign troops walking in and out of the country. I cannot understand why no one is calling Uganda out on this. If there is need for assistance from another country there are procedures to be followed. East Africa should be weary of such actions.

by: Kiir from: Juba
January 14, 2014 4:06 AM
Museveni thought he solving the problem of S. Sudan, but he making it worsen. I don't think that Uganda is powerful than Sudan fought S. Sudanese for 21 years and no body give up. Shame on Museveni

by: onon from: Adelaide
January 13, 2014 6:48 PM
Museveni should stop involving himself in any affairs in south Sudan.
South Sudan is not like DRC he used to send UPDF to loot and invest the resources. If Kony if defeating him. How big shame on him of sending the troop to South Sudan.
We have 150 tribes in the country, why do they not involves themselves in its affairs? museveni should not create enmity betn Ugandan people and the rest of south Sudanese tribe especially the equatorian.
In Response

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
January 14, 2014 2:02 AM
Here in Somalia the true powerful president is Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, because we have almost 10,000 well armed Ugandian troops who take care the security of local government. Therefore the so called local president Hassan Shiekh and his 500 ministerial cabinets are just nominal species. They work under Museveni's instructions. The reason is; we could not stop slaughtering one another on tribal/clan basis for more than 21 years. Museveni troops intervened citing that they wanted to stop the civil war and save Somalia from itself.
Now what's happening in S. Sudan is clearly another horrific Somalia in the making. If SS do not stop the brewing civil war very quickly, soon you will find yourselves forced to work for free under the rules of Museveni's troops.
People of Dinka and Nuer, please wake up before it's too late!!

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