Is Uganda Giving Up On Its Rescue Mission?
April 25, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — The Ugandan People Defence Force(UPDF) intervened in South Sudanese conflict in December to rescue president Salva Kiir from being overthrown by mutinied troops loyal to Machar.
Although the intervention was not initially approved by either the African Union or the Inter-Governmental Authority Development (IGAD), Museveni hoped his well equipped UPDF could capture the rebel leader, Dr. Machar in “four days”. However, the latest report from the Uganda military bears some frustrations citing the flattering security in the country.
Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, the Ugandan military spokesperson, blames the international community for being slow to stop the ongoing bloodshed in South Sudan. Ankunda has as well blamed the South Sudan waring factions and the United Nations for being insensitive.
“The warring parties are being insensitive to the people’s wishes. We expect them to be engaging in a political process in Addis Ababa, and this is not what they are doing,” Ankunda said on Thursday.
Ankunda, who reported two weeks ago that Uganda will not help the trouble Juba government fights the insurgents in the oil rich Bentiu, has further reports that the Ugandan troops will not expands their mission beyond Bor, Juba and “Nisitu”.
“We have no intention at all, we have no intentions whatsoever to move beyond the positions that we occupy. Our forces are in defensive positions in Bor town, Juba city and Nisitu. We have no mandate whatsoever to move beyond those positions,” Ankunda said.
This will be a big blow to South Sudan government. UPDF helped the loyal troops recapture the strategic towns of Bor, Malakal and Bentiu in January from the anti-government forces. Uganda warplanes have further bombed villages in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states, killing civilians and cattle in pursuit of Dr. Riek.
Uganda deploys thousands troops, equipped with modern warplanes and heavy artilleries with hope to crush Machar’s rebellion in December, however, the Ugandans have lost heavily within the last 4 months as the rebellion continues to strengthens.
With the rainy season approaching there is little for the Ugandans to rescue, given the poor road network and airstrips in South Sudan.
Ankunda expressed his concerns for the killings of civilians and Darfur mercenaries in Bentiu and warns the white army to only attack Bor at their own perils.
“We have read that rebels moved into Bentiu and killed hundreds of civilians. That is not what they should be doing. They should be talking.” Ankunda said.
“We are equally concerned for the areas where we are, for example Bor, Nisitu, Juba, we have told these rebels if they dare attack, should they dare attack these positions where UPDF is, they will do it at their own peril,” Ankunda added.
Bor became a major target for the white army after an unprovoked attack at the UN base on 17 April, killing over hundred unarmed civilians at the watch of the Ugandan People Defense Force.
The opposition forces have reported matching towards Bor this week on a “rescue mission”, which has captured Dukpadit and neighboring towns North of Bor on Thursday.
Ankunda emphasizes withdrawing of the UPDF, however, the Ugandan army fears the fates of the South Sudanese government.
“We cannot leave a vacuum and that is very clear. We cannot withdraw or pull out and leave a vacuum that can be taken advantage of by these militia killing people” the spokesman said.
The Ugandan army expected IGAD to deploy its troops this month to protect oilfields and strategic towns, however, Machar has opposed the proposal. Machar is consolidating his military might to seize Paloich’s oilfields, the only oilfields under government control in the country.
Uganda troops arrived in the country shortly after war broke out, among the presidential guards, between troops loyal to Machar against those loyal to Salva Kiir.
Salva Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar and his 15 senior colleagues for “plotting a coup” to overthrow him, however, the high profile politicians have all denied the accusation, some in the court of law.
13 politicians who were arrested and charged with treason and incitement of masses have been found not guilty by the special court. Seven politicians were released into Kenyan custody in January while the last four together with Dr. Adwok Nyaba remain under house arrest in Juba.