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S. Sudan defence minister flies to Uganda amid rebel demands for foreign forces to withdraw


May 23, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s defence minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk, travelled to Kampala on Thursday where he said he plans to hold discussions on Uganda’s ongoing military involvement in the country since political tensions turned violent in mid-December last year.

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The presidents of Uganda and South Sudan Yoweri Museveni (L) and Salva Kiir walk side by side (Photo: Getty Images)

The Ugandan army (UPDF) deployed troops to the country to fight alongside the national army (SPLA), which is locked in an armed struggle against rebel forces, comprising largely of dissident soldiers and ethnic militias, seeking to remove president Salva Kiir from power.

Juuk’s visit comes after the latest round of peace talks between South Sudan’s warring parties was postponed until 29 May amid continued disagreements over the presence of foreign troop.

Rebels accuse Uganda of meddling in the internal affairs of South Sudan, saying the continued presence of UPDF forces is in violation of an earlier ceasefire deal signed in January.

Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia have also previously expressed their opposition to the presence of Ugandan troops in the new nation, with the latter saying their presence threatens regional peace and stability.

Speaking to journalists at Juba international airport prior to his departure, Juuk said he hopes to hold “frank discussions” with his Ugandan counterpart and relevant institutions and authorities.

“I am going for [a] bilateral visit with my counterpart on military cooperation. You know we have issues that require consultation and discussions to see how we can go about them, especially relating to security matters,” Juuk told reporters on Thursday.

He described South Sudan’s military relationship with Uganda as “solid”, saying the two countries would continue their robust cooperation on military training and joint operational plans

“There is already a cooperation agreement to continue to equip, modernise and train our forces to confront threats,” he said.

The SPLA’s chief of general staff, Paul Malong Awan, has also recently returned from neighbouring Kenya, where he went for a similar visit to discuss security issues with his Kenyan counterpart in the capital, Nairobi.

The visits of the two top security officials come amid sustained mounting local and international pressure on the government to order the pull out of foreign troops from the country.


Meanwhile, there is growing pubic outcry in South Sudan over disparaging comments attributed to the Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni that he would hang himself if the security situation in his country reached the same level as that in South Sudan and several other troubled African nations.

The comments have drawn condemnation on social media networks and online forums where they were described as demeaning to the South Sudanese people.

The Ugandan leader is believed to have made the comments last week while speaking at a grand final campaign rally for the National Resistance Movement’s female flag bearer, Rebecca Nalwanga, in the grounds of the Zirobwe Town Council.

“I have never called the United Nations to guard your security. Me, Yoweri Museveni, to say that I have failed to protect my people and I call in the UN … I would rather hang myself. We prioritised national security by developing a strong army otherwise our Uganda would be like DRC, South Sudan, Somalia or Nigeria where militias have disappeared with school children. It would be a vote of no confidence to our country and citizens if we can’t guarantee our security. What kind of persons would we be?” different media sources quoted Museveni as saying.

The remarks have been met with mixed reactions in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, with some government officials describing it as a direct attack on the leadership of the country, while others argue the comments, although humiliating to South Sudan, are based on fact.

“What do you say? These are [the] facts. President Museveni did not say anything new. He is simply saying the truth. His remarks, however bitter they are, [are] simply factual statements,” Deng Alfred Turuk, a native of Warrap state, told Sudan Tribune on Friday.

Wassara Samson, a native of Western Equatoria, said the statements suggest the Ugandan president’s lack of confidence in the country’s leadership.

“This is a complete dismissal of the capabilities of our current leadership and we should feel ashamed if [we have] a grain of patriotism and sense of belonging to this country. Our people do not see that the interest of the country is bigger than individual ambitions and personal perks,” said Samson.

The Ugandan government has stressed that its forces were in the country at the request of the South Sudanese government and would remain there until asked to pull out.

It told donors gathered at an international conference in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, this week that its military intervention in the conflict had averted “unimaginable genocide” in the new nation.


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  • 24 May 2014 10:02, by Mi diit

    Ahahaha….going to see his boss the Uganda defence minister for further directives.

    repondre message

    • 24 May 2014 10:45, by Malou Manyiel

      It is better to tell the painful truth than lying among the core thinkers. I can’t blame president M7 for all his quotes. It is good to know and hear so that our country’s leadership can feel the pain and shame altogether. We the citizens of South Sudan have had enough shares of shame wherever we are.

      repondre message

    • 24 May 2014 20:26, by Ito

      I am not surprise with this visit because it is a Dinka who is visiting. I would have been if it were from different tribe. For those of you who still think Dinka are good, you will soon turn around and blame yourselves. mark my words. We do not talk for the sake but through experience. Dinka are animals.

      repondre message

  • 24 May 2014 10:02, by dinkdong

    Why did M7 lied? He should hung himself because he has been helped by the AU and Americans to look for LRA Joseph Kony.

    repondre message

  • 24 May 2014 10:35, by Ambago

    President Kiir, you should be ashamed of yourself after what your so-called friend Museveni said bout your leadership.
    He says if he were you, he would have hanged himself than invite in foreign troops the way you did.
    Paradoxically Museveni now describes your actions as a clear vote of no confidence.
    If leadership is indeed about dignity, then you need to rethink your position.

    repondre message

    • 24 May 2014 12:09, by Force 1

      Someone old enough as you’re shouldn’t be lying like a child and speak childishly! First of all if it were true that M7 said what you claimed he said; who in his or her right mind would send his troops to South Sudan fight war on behave of others as a head of state like he is? It only make sense to a child brain character like Ambago.

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  • 24 May 2014 11:05, by Mapuor

    Dear brothers,what M7 said is 100% right,but when we look at the budget allocations to SPLA and that of NRA,you surprisingly dis cover that SPLA budget is 100 times higher than that of Ugandan army.The who is to blame?Just blame Oyai Deng,Salva Mathok,Majak Agot,Pieng Deng and all illiterate generals who were commanding the SPLA.President Kiir is free of blame since he released the money.

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    • 24 May 2014 11:22, by Mapuor

      When you look at SPLA carefully,units such as Procurement,Logistics Finance and administration are held by commanding General’s relatives who have become billionaires even body guards of those thieves are now millionaires.Corruption in the SPLA is blamed on Hoth Mai,Pieng Deng,Mathok Geng etc with their relatives and guards whom they deployed to loot and weaken the SPLA.

      repondre message

  • 24 May 2014 11:21, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    This is Kaguta’s son in his true colours. What could he have not said that is truly facts on ground in South Sudan? That is true with distinction. Leaders should not force themselves on people if they are incapable of rendering true service to the people. Protection of human lives and property come first otherwise with no patriotism sovereignty of state becomes meaningless. Museveni is 100% right.

    repondre message

    • 24 May 2014 11:28, by Mapuor

      jur_likang_a_ likan’g
      Corruption was not practiced by the president,it was practiced by Dr Riek,Majak Agot,Pieng Deng,Salva Mathok,Pagan Amum,Deng Alor etc.We praise and thank our president Kiir for removing them.How can people come billionaires in a country were no infrastructure is seen,no roads,no bridges etc.Kiir will rule for life.Alluta Continua.

      repondre message

      • 24 May 2014 12:34, by Bravo Nuer

        Mapuor shamelessness and folly of you Dinka BEG is our great source of backsliding dwarfed our national foundation.Salva kiir in South Sudan history will only be remembered for his broken English like a notable word innu short of that he is just a black sheep in the history.to be precise if those scapegoats were the cause of SPLA corruption,who was C-IN-C? if Riek or else were C-IN-C you are right

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  • 24 May 2014 17:26, by Positive Thinker

    What m7 said has some elements of truth, but why did he not hang himself when JK kidnapped more than 100 school girls in Northern Uganda? And why did he not hang himself to asked for American help to haunt for JK? M7 is boasting for nothing. UPDF cannot stand in front of mighty Negeria forces. Even our SPLA is weak because of weak leaders. Kiirdit enjoy your shame from your so called friend.

    repondre message

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