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The East African : December 23rd 2013
10 The EastAfrican NEWS DECEMBER 21-27,2013 ON THE BRINK OF CIVIL WAR Uganda now steps in, sends troops to S. Sudan Two Ugandans have been killed in the violence and othe≥s inju≥ed By JULIUS BARIGABA The EastAfrican capital Juba. Until then the only other significant move it had taken was to put its troops on high alert at the border with its northern neighbour. But as the chaos intensified, O now said to be a coup attempt in which two Ugandans have been killed and more injured, Kampala was compelled to deploy special forces. Uganda deployed an uncon- firmed number of its soldiers to Juba, as the situation in the capital and Jonglei state remained volatile following the coup attempt of December 15. Without stating the number of troops, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces spokesman Lt Col Paddy Ankunda told The EastAfrican, on Friday, that a small force had been dispatched to facilitate the evacuation of Ugandans, some of whom are injured. “It has been deployed with full authorisation of the South Sudan government,” he said, but declined to say how long the force will remain in South Sudan, nor whether more troops would be sent. There are reports that the UPDF soldiers will be deployed until the political chaos in South Sudan ends. Uganda did not move in to help quell the unrest immediately, unlike in the past. One such instance when Ugandan forces intervened promptly was in 2007, when two Ugandan delegations that were in the South Civilians gather outside the UNMISS compound in Juba, on December 16. Uganda sent its special forces into the country on Thursday to rescue its citizens. Picture: File Sudanese capital panicked as the sound of gunfire rocked the city. But by the following morn- It [the force] has been deployed with full authorisation of the South Sudan government.” UPDF spokesman Lt Col Paddy Ankunda SUDAN, S. SUDAN RELATIONS January 9, 2011 - Millions of jubilant southern Sudanese (99 per cent) vote in a referendum to split from the north effectively separating from northern Sudan. 2011 May 31, 2011 - Representatives from Sudan and South Sudan agree to set up a Common Border Zone between them, which is to be demilitarised, monitored and patrolled by the African Union. Jul. 9, 2011 - Salva Kiir is sworn in as president of South Sudan, formally declaring independence from Sudan. ing, a senior Ugandan politician who was part of one of the delegations that had been in Juba negotiating peace between the Ugandan government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), recalls that the situation was returning to calm. During the night, a section of the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) had tried to overthrow South Sudan President Salva Kiir, who then called Kampala to come to his rescue. Thus, UPDF soldiers and mili- tary tanks stepped in because the Ugandan government had an interest in a peaceful South Sudan. At the time, Juba was host- ing peace negotiations between Kampala and the LRA with more than 50 Ugandan politi- January 23, 2012 - South Sudan starts shutting down oil production and accuses Sudan of seizing $815 million worth of crude, escalating an increasingly bitter row over oil revenues. 2012 Feb. 10, 2012 - Sudan and South Sudan sign a security agreement to defuse tensions over oil payments. Both countries had failed to agree on how much the landlocked South should pay to transport its oil through Sudan. April 19, 2012 - Bashir threatens war against South Sudan, vowing to teach his new neighbour a “final lesson by force,” after it seizes Heglig. Two days later, South Sudan withdraws and accuses its neighbour of bombing its troops as they pull out. April 2012: Khartoum accuses South Sudan of supporting the rebels in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, who fought SPLA in the civil war. June 21, 2012 - Sudan’s armed forces clash with rebels in the oil-producing border state of South Kordofan, both claiming victory. July 1, 2012 - Sudan announces that President Kiir and President Bashir plan to meet on the side-lines of an African Union summit in Addis Ababa. March 26, 2012 - Sudan’s president Omal al-Bashir suspends plans to meet President Kiir, after the South’s forces occupy the oil-producing area of Heglig, parts of which are claimed by both countries. cal and religious leaders who formed the two delegations, and military officers. In addition, local and international media were monitoring the peace process that had started in 2006. But of more significance for Uganda, the peace talks were mediated by the then South Sudan vice president Riek Machar. Had Kampala allowed a section of SPLA allied to Riek Machar to remove President Kiir from power it would have been interpreted as support for the coup. However, the talks collapsed when several times in 2008, LRA leader Joseph Kony did not show up to sign the peace accord. In 2007, Kampala was still smarting from an international public relations disaster following the death two years earlier of SPLA leader John Garang, the first South Sudan president and the vice president of Sudan. May 2, 2012 - The UN Security Council endorses Resolution 2046 to resolve renewed fighting in Heglig in April. It directs Khartoum and Juba to conclude a deal over outstanding issues before August. HISTORY Uganda backed the SPLM/ SPLA insurgency led by Salva Kiir — now president of South Sudan — before it won Independence in 2011. Like other neighbours, Uganda hosted many refugees from the decades of civil war in pre-partitioned Sudan, and now worries about the twoyear-old nation collapsing into chaos. Garang was killed in a heli- copter crash on July 30, 2005, just months after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between SPLA and Khartoum had been signed. The helicopter belonged to Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni whom Garang had just met in Uganda; the SPLA leader was returning to his base in South Sudan when the chopper crashed in a mountain range in southern Sudan. This sparked a wave of con- spiracy theories in the international media, some accusing Uganda of mismanaging the SPLA leader’s flight by chopper back to his base, and possi- Sept. 27, 2012: Khartoum and Juba sign a comprehensive co-operation agreement covering security, economic co-operation, crossborder trade and the citizenship of South Sudanese in Sudan. Feb. 18, 2013: President Kiir orders more than 100 army generals to retire as he restructures the ex-rebel force, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). 2013 April 13, 2013: South Sudan resumes oil production and export, ending a bitter 15-month row with Sudan. Nov. 2 2013: Controversial opposition leader Lam Akol returns home for first time in two years, after receiving presidential pardon. Dec. 16, 2013: President Kiir says he has defeated a coup attempt blamed on Machar supporters, but the fighting in Juba continues and later spreads to Jonglei and Unity State. n Wednesday, Uganda closed its embassy in South Sudan’s bly having a hand in Garang’s death. Soon after, Ugandan traders found a land of opportunity in the then southern province of the Republic of Sudan, following the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. In 2007 and now, military intelligence and sources within the ruling Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement point an accusing finger at Dr Machar as the man behind the alleged coup attempt. The significance of South Sudan today to Uganda is as a trade partner and key market for Ugandan exports and services, rather than a mediator of a peace process. Thus, other than concern for its citizens’ safety, there is no public relations image or political interests for Uganda to salvage. As an immediate neighbour, Uganda’s role in resolving the Juba crisis is political, which is why the job of the special forces deployed on Thursday is to help evacuate its citizens. Uganda’s political role is over- seen by the United Nations, according to Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Fred Opolot. “The UN Secretary General had a phone conversation with President Museveni and asked him to intervene by finding a political solution to the problem,” Mr Opolot told journalists in Kampala on December 19. The “political solution” is to get all the sides in the South Sudan crisis — including the forces loyal to Gen Peter Gadet Yak who say they have clashed with the Salva Kiir-allied SPLA — to talk and reach a compromise; Salva Kiir has already agreed to the talks. Indications from Uganda’s foreign affairs ministry are that this process could take place under the UN and African Union auspices. Jul. 23 2013: President Kiir suspends his entire Cabinet. August 2013: President Kiir names Speaker James Igga as his deputy. Riek Machar says he will run against Kiir in the 2015 elections. December 6 2013: Machar denounces “dictatorial” behaviour by Kiir, revealing bitter divisions within the SPLM.
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