Nov 22, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — A high-level delegation of the South Sudan People Defense Forces(SSPDF), led by the Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Johnson Juma Okot, met the Ugandan military leadership in Gulu city on Friday to revisit the recent fighting between the armies of the two countries.
South Sudan’s high-level delegation led by the Chief of Defense Forces was received by the UPDF Deputy Chief of Defense Forces, Lt Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi, the Land Force commander, Lt Gen Peter Elwelu, and Maj Gen Paul Lokech, a senior military officer, among others.
According to Ugandan media reports, Gen. Okot briefed the Ugandan counterparts reiterating that his delegation paid the courtesy call to resolve the differences between the two forces and to find the best ways forward to mitigate such occurences.
“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 said.
“We have been so privileged that Uganda is providing protection to our displaced people in northern Uganda. Our children have been able to go to school, pursue their welfare, including their health,” he added.
South Sudan and Ugandan forces have clashed at least twice this year, one in May and another in October, over unclear root causes but both sides accused the other of crossing into its teritory.
In both occaptions Ugandan army killed a total of five members of South Sudan People Defence Forces, captured guns and at least one soldier.
The guns and POWs were later handed over to South Sudan military but the hard feelings and accusations remain.
To ease media attention, South Sudan fired its spokesman, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, who claimed that the Ugandan forces entered South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria, overran a military post at Pogee of Magwi county and snatched three bodies of the soldiers they killed into Ugandan territory when they were later defeated.
During the Friday’s meeting, Gen. Okot took the initiative to call for further investigation into the matter.
“Some of them, when they get defeated, they find their way into Uganda. In today’s meeting, we should come out with how to manage them. We need to investigate deeper on how they interfere with our relationship,” Gen. Okot reportedly said.
While the Ugandan army maintained its earlier position, the Ugandan deputy chief of the army said that the two countries have longer brotherly relations that are deeply rooted in African values and therefore the two armies must uphold strategic security between the two countries.
“Our relationship with South Sudan is so deeply rooted in the values of pan Africanism, integration, identity and independence of both countries, besides strategic security between the two countries. This is what we pledged to uphold,” Gen Mbadi said.
“We promised each other to deal with these gaps so that we correct them so as to continue to have harmony, confidence, and mutual trust that we need in order to consolidate this relationship and push for the stability of this region,” he added.