May 23, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The spokespersons of the South Sudanese rebel faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) have dismissed claims by the Ugandan government alleging that its leader, Riek Machar, and the fugitive leader of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have been in contact in order to join operations aimed at toppling president Salva Kiir’s government.
- LRA leader Joseph Kony (Getty)
Senior officials of the Ugandan ministry of defence and intelligence operatives were quoted in the media this week as saying the two rebel leaders have recently been in contact to stage joint operations to oust Juba’s regime.
However, spokespersons of the South Sudanese rebel group have dismissed the claims as negative propaganda aimed at justifying Uganda’s invasion.
“It is a wild propaganda. This is another desperate attempt by the invading Ugandan People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) to try to justify and prolong their colonization of some parts of South Sudan,” Machar’s spokesperson James Gatdet Dak said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Thursday.
“We are a resistance movement with principles and we fight an internal resistance war imposed on us, and it is being pursued and owned by our people. We are against hiring foreign mercenaries to fight for either side in the internal conflict. We have the people of South Sudan rallying behind our cause and resistance,” Dak further explained.
The rebel leader’s spokesperson also accused the two leaderships in South Sudan and Uganda for “teaming up against genuine democratic governance in the region.”
He said the Ugandan government had to deal with its internal matter and stop the blame-game.
“If the Ugandan leadership is worried or getting nervous about the likelihood of the LRA resurfacing in Uganda and resuming war, this should not be a warrant for them to propagate against us. We reject this baseless allegation,” he further stressed.
Dak added that his boss, Machar, was instead very instrumental in ending the war and bringing peace and stability to northern Uganda when he mediated peace talks in Juba between Museveni’s government and Kony’s LRA from 2006 to 2008, adding “this should instead be recognized and appreciated.”
He further added that Machar’s efforts removed the LRA from northern Uganda and South Sudan and made millions to resettle in their homes of origin, adding that the two rebel groups had nothing in common politically as they were also “divided by international borders and citizenry.”
The rebels spokesman further said the leadership of the SPLM (in opposition) had a vision for peace and stability in the whole region and already proved it to the government and people of Uganda when he “wholeheartedly helped Museveni to end the war inside his own country.”
Also, the rebels military spokesperson, Brig Lul Ruai Koang, accused Ugandan government of having a “faulty intelligence.”
“Claims by UPDF’s Intelligence operatives that Dr. Riek Machar is in talks with Joseph Kony, leader of LRA in order to join forces to topple Kiir is incredible information based on faulty intelligence.”
“We have enough forces to topple Kiir, furthermore, Kony’s records could not allow our leadership to seek alliance with his rebel outfit. It’s regrettable that Uganda’s Chief of Defence Forces could feed credible media houses with baseless lies,” he further charged.