October 27, 2013 (KAMPALA) - Uganda is reviewing its security organs after the expulsion earlier this month of a Sudanese diplomat in Kampala caught in a sting operation as he paid money to a Ugandan security official for classified information, the regional weekly newspaper The East African reported.
Jad-el-Seed Mohammed Elhag, a “foreign service officer”, who is also said to have been a security liaison at the Sudanese embassy was declared persona non grata by Uganda’s foreign ministry and given 24 hours to leave the country.
Foreign ministry spokesman Tayebwa Katureebe said the diplomat had been expelled due to his involvement in activities that were “beyond the norms and requirements of his tenure”.
Ugandan security had reportedly been monitoring the movements of the Sudanese diplomat before “catching him red handed” as he tried to pay money to a Ugandan agent in return for classified information.
According to anonymous sources in Ugandan intelligence quoted by the newspaper, Elhag had orchestrated an operation that had infiltrated Uganda’s external intelligence.
The sources said the Sudanese espionage operation was “potentially one of the largest intelligence leaks” in Uganda.
An officer in Uganda’s external security agency was last week charged in court for selling the classified intelligence information.
In comments published in Ugandan newspaper Adil Sharfi, Sudan’s ambassador to Uganda denied the diplomat had been expelled, saying the official in question had been recalled by his government.
Uganda said the incident would not affect bilateral relations between the two countries.
The Sudanese government has long claimed that the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) group, which is seeking to overthrow the regime of president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, is based in Uganda and is receiving support from the Ugandan army.
In an interview with Sudan Tribune in July, Uganda’s minister of international affairs, Henry Okello Oryem, dismissed Sudan’s claims as “rubbish”, accusing Khartoum of supporting rebels from Uganda’s Lord Resistance Army (LRA).
Uganda and Sudan have a long history of accusing each other of supporting rebels hostile to one another.
This month Bashir and his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni, held a rare meeting on the sidelines of a special summit for African heads of state and government in Addis Ababa.
Khartoum said that the meeting, which was held at the request of Kampala authorities, discussed bilateral relations, saying that “Museveni stressed his country’s strong commitment not to support the Sudanese opposition”.
The Sudanese foreign ministry further said that during the “friendly and frank meeting”, Bashir provided Museveni with strong information, stressing that the Ugandan president had appeared to be more responsive than in the past.