The current standoff between Uganda’s neighbors, South Sudan and Sudan has got the attention of many people in Soroti a section of whom fear that the involvement of Uganda in the war may delay the process to track down Joseph Kony and his LRA rebel group while others say Uganda should broker peace between Southern Sudan and Sudan the way Juba did with Uganda and the LRA rebels.
The people of Soroti, in eastern Uganda’s Teso sub region and the communities in South Sudan may be kilometers apart and seperated by different cultures, tribes, language and politics, but both communities have one thing in common: they all have fresh memories of war.
Not long ago, Teso sub region witnessed rebellions, which turned the region into a battlefield between NRA/UPDF soldiers and the UPDA rebels and most recently, the LRA rebel incursion into Teso that left marks that can still be seen and felt today.
And now, the current standoff between Uganda’s neighbors, South Sudan and Sudan has got the attention of many people in Soroti who however carry mixed opinions about a possible involvement of Uganda in the tension.
While a section of the people say that Uganda should go ahead and militarily support South Sudan to defeat Sudan to end the war, others insist that Uganda should reciprocate the gesture displayed by Juba years ago when it hosted the peace negotiations between the LRA rebels and Uganda government.
Okello Fredy, a senior four student of Ngora High says that he sees no problem with Uganda rendering support to its neighbor. He said a fast end to the war would avoid disruptions in trade, which is the main activity between the countries. Okello is also worried that a full war may prove costly to Uganda especially when the Southern Sudanese refugees begin trekking into the country for safety.
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However, Okello’s view, which is also held by others, is not entirely representative; many others believe that Uganda should help to broker peace between the conflicting countries. Alupo Engole Cecilia, the Coordinator of Teso Women Peace Activists says that Uganda, South Sudan and Sudan have had enough of devastating wars and should ensure none of it ever happens again.
She wants the government of Uganda to host peace talks between South Sudan and Sudan that way Juba hosted talks between LRA rebels and the government of Uganda between 2006 to 2008. Alupo is also afraid that Uganda’s involvement in the war between the two countries would delay efforts to hunt down Joseph Kony and his LRA rebels in the jungles of DR Congo and Central African Republic.
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UPDF army spokesperson, Felix Kulaigye was recently quoted in the media saying that Uganda would not hesitate to provide support to its neighbors, Southern Sudan. He added that there was intelligence report indicating that the government of Sudan was in contact with LRA rebels for a possible resumption of attacks on South Sudan and Uganda.
But Henry Okello Oryem, the Uganda Foreign Affairs minister has ruled out any military intervention by Uganda. He said Uganda’s position is that the two countries should exercise restraint, patience and resume peace negotiations over matters in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement they signed a few years ago on how to amicably settle the border dispute.
Any possible war between the three states would greatly disrupt the regional integration especially following recent attempts by both Sudan and South Sudan to join the East African Community where Uganda is a member. It would also stretch the military capacity of Uganda who is already engaged in Somalia as well as in DR Congo and Central African Republic pursuing LRA rebels.
south sudan war
sudan border conflict
teso women peace activists
alupo engole cecilia