Breaking news: Uganda Army Speaks on Nimule-Juba Attacks
Report compiled by:
Gatwal Augustines, Kampala, Ug
17-December-2013: The Ugandan army has appealed to travelers and traders using the Nimule-Juba road to be more careful following an attack on two vehicles on the route to the Capital of war-torn South Sudan, Juba.
“This is a caution to Ugandans using Juba-Nimule road. UPDF(Ugandan People Defense Force) and SPLA (Sudan People Libration Army) are concerned and assessing the security situation,” said UPDF spokesperson, Lt Col.Paddy Ankunda on Wednesday.
“Two vehicles were burnt and one John Tamale injured. Take caution along Juba Nimule road.” Lt Col. Paddy stressed.
8:30am: The South Sudan rebels have boasted of destroying a military convoy loaded with food items meant for government soldiers in the Equatoria region, raising fears that a peace deal between President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar won’t be realized soon.
The rebels’ publicist, Brig Lul Koang when contacted on Tuesday night said that they had closed the Nimule-Juba road which links Uganda to South Sudan.
“The gallant SPLM/SPLA Forces under the command of General Martin Kenyi marked the day this morning by closing Salva Kiir Mayardit lifeline to the outside world. The very gateway that links him directly to his mentor President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda,” boasted Koang.
“In two separate combat actions, Salva Kiir’s first bloody nose in Equatorian states, the SPLM/SPLA Forces under the command of Lt. Jada Anthony Tibi, attacked, demolished and burnt down three trucks loaded with food items intended for Salva Kiir’s militia,” he added:
“The local people helped themselves with the food. The rescue forces that came was also attacked, one Toyota pickup mounted with heavy machine gun was destroyed and the remaining force ran in disarray in the direction of Juba. The SPLM/SPLA have now closed the Nimule-Juba road to traffic.”
Uganda army spokesperson Lt Col.Paddy Ankund, however, was bluntly quoted to have said “this development will compel Uganda Special Forces commando units to use combat action to clear the rebels’ pockets of resistance along the Juba-Nimule road if it continues.”
For some time, political analysts in Uganda claim that Machar’s plan has been cutting off Uganda’s access to South Sudan before rebels launch a huge offensive on Bor and Juba.
This would hurt Uganda’s economy since Ugandan traders use road transport to carry merchandise to the war-torn country.
Statistics from Uganda Ministry of Trade indicate that South Sudan is Uganda’s large trade partner with annual export revenue of over $358 million, implying a monthly income of about $28.4 million and over $900,000 per day.
In an article to the Washington Post this week, U.S Secretary of State, John Kerry said, “to move forward, a transitional government with a mandate to create security agencies that protect all South Sudan’s people — regardless of ethnicity or political alignment — is imperative.”
He added: “That government must develop a transparent system for managing the country’s resources and agree on an inclusive constitutional drafting process that focuses on improved governance. Given the level of past violence, a reconciliation plan must also be established, accompanied by efforts to investigate atrocities and ensure that those involved are held accountable for their crimes.”
Allied power, Juba and Kampala, however, claim that Rebels don’t appear to be inclined towards a peaceful settlement of the conflict, proven by the latest military action in Equatoria that they believe will drive the last nail into the coffin of Salva Kiir’s regime.”
Koang added: “Taking place just at the borders with the neighboring Uganda, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni must now be worried and panicking about the fate of the soldiers he brought into South Sudan to assist Salva Kiir.”