February 2, 2017 (KAMPALA) – The Ugandan government has ruled out any move to militarily intervene in the South Sudanese conflict, saying its involvement could worsen the country’s security situation.
- Ugandan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Henry Oryem Okello (C) speaks to the press after a meeting with President al-Bashir in Kartoum on 20 June 2016 (ST Photo)
Uganda’s deputy foreign affairs minister, Henry Okello Oryem said interference in South Sudan’s issues would be opposed by the country’s leaders.
"I don’t think it’s a good idea," Oryem told Reuters on Wednesday.
"That’s a colonial mentality. If an attempt was made to have trusteeship in South Sudan, then I think even the [Riek] Machar’s side would resist it and fight it," he added.
South Sudan broke away from neighbouring Sudan in July 2011 after a referendum.
The Ugandan army joined the conflict in South Sudan soon after it began in December 2013, fighting on President Salva Kiir’s side against rebels led by Riek Machar, the nation’s ex-first vice president.
The Ugandan presence helped prevent the capital, Juba from falling into rebel hands. Ugandan troops pulled out late last year.
In August 2015, an internationally brokered peace deal restored some calm, although that broke down in July last year with heavy fighting between the rival forces in Juba, after which an injured Machar managed to flee to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Minister Oryem, however, said Uganda was misunderstood by the international community when it intervened in South Sudan after violence broke out in December 2013.
"We’ve told them we are not going to go back," he said, adding "Uganda has no more interest in sending its troops and boys to South Sudan."
South Sudan has experienced violence since December 2013 when political disagreements between President Kiir and Machar saw the nation split along ethnic lines. Tens of thousands of people have since been killed and millions displaced in South Sudan’s worst violence since its independence.