On Thursday afternoon in Koboko, some Ugandan teenagers who had supposedly been recruited as rebels to battle the South Sudanese government turned themselves in.
The young people who were purportedly recruited into the National Salvation Front (NAS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) gave up when things got tough in the jungles.
The youngsters who turned themselves in reportedly gave the Ugandan security forces 10 firearms in the districts of Koboko and Yumbe.
Mr. Tom Olinga, the Koboko Resident District Commissioner, stated: “So far, we have received four guns, while Yumbe has received six guns and a few military supplies that were voluntarily given to us by these youngsters who are returning. Our UPDF authorities currently have the weapons.
He claims that the returning refugees are Ugandan youth who were recruited into rebel activities in South Sudan but were unable to be included into the military due to ongoing peace agreements between the South Sudanese government and the rebel factions.
As part of the peace process, the soldiers, particularly those from the SPLA-IO, have been undergoing integration into the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF), the country’s national army.
Over 500 youngsters who went into South Sudan to participate in rebel actions, according to the RDC’s intelligence reports, are scheduled to report back to Uganda.
He continued, “We already know who they are according to Sub County, but they are free to return as long as they pose no security threat.
Col. Gabriel Lam, the deputy spokesperson for the SPLA-IO, claimed that non-South Sudanese are not recruited by their army.
“The Ugandan security statement is quite murky because they omitted to identify the location of the purported rebels’ base of operations. Both the border and South Sudan are rather large. Even during the fierce battle in 2016, we didn’t recruit, he added. “For us, we don’t recruit outside of South Sudan, and for us, we don’t recruit people into our system.
“Given that they don’t have an agenda, why would Ugandans join our forces? Only the consolidation of the peace process is our current focus.
The South Sudanese administration has long accused Ugandan officials of permitting their youth to join rebel organizations and fight against the government in many meetings.
For instance, Col. Ali Wani Jacob, the Director of Military Intelligence in Yei River State for the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), accused the Ugandan government of permitting and promoting rebel activities through the recruitment of young people from the camps and towns to the rebel group SPLA-IO during the March 13, 2019 cross-border meeting in Koboko town.
We shall continue to coexist, and as leaders we need to maintain the relationship and peace jealously. “The deep historical tie between the two countries cannot be split by an individual nor by the Presidents of the nations,” he stated.
He claimed that some criminals in South Sudan have been using the country’s protracted instability as an excuse to rob people, kill people, disturb the peace, and smuggle weapons into Uganda, particularly in the refugee camps. He claimed that this can only be stopped and prevented through coordinated efforts.The Ugandan security chiefs at the time vigorously refuted the allegations. Since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which resulted in the independence of South Sudan, was signed in 2005, the country has experienced instability. More than 1 million South Sudanese refugees have entered Uganda as a result of the two wars that broke out after the agreement.