The speaker of the South Sudanese parliament Mannaseh Magok reveals that South Sudanese president Salva Kiir never wrote any letter to President Yoweri Museveni asking him to deploy the Ugandan forces in South Sudan.
The UPDF has been fighting alongside the Sudanese people’s Liberation Army since a conflict broke out between the government of Kiir and a breakaway faction led by his former deputy Riek Machar in mid December.
Members of Parliaments public accounts committee on Thursday put to task the Chief of defence forces Gen Katumba Wamala and the State minister for Defence Gen Jeje Odongo to present a letter from Juba, inviting the UPDF to assist, as government earlier claimed.
Tempers flared when Gen Odongo told the committee that he could not present the letter because it is a piece of communication between two heads of state. The two generals maintained that the forces were in Sudan on the invitation of Gen. Salva Kiir.
But Magok says the Ugandan government saw it as its responsibility to pacify a neighboring country
The chairperson of the South Sudan peace and reconciliation committee David Ukuero says the UPDF is operating in South Sudan under the status of forces agreement which existed long before independence
Ukuero, an SPLA General adds that UPDF had been operating under the same agreement while pursuing the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels.
General Ukuero however defends Ugandan forces saying they are not fighting the rebels in S. Sudan but only responded when they were attacked by the rebels. He said that they only went there to protect strategic areas and observe peace in Juba, a city which is occupied by persons from different nationalities.
The speaker and the General were part of the delegation that met the speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Margaret Zziwa to show appreciation for the assistance rendered by the region particularly Uganda towards restoring peace in the world’s youngest state.
Zziwa implored that amicable solutions will be realised since there is determination and support from the region and the whole of Africa.