By Julius N. Uma
May 1, 2012 (GULU) – Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday warned Sudan after the publication of allegations that Khartoum has resumed its support for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a notorious rebel group that has terrorized the populations in Uganda and neighbouring nations for decades.
“Some newspapers the other day reported that Sudan is arming Kony to come and fight us [Uganda]. Whatever arms Sudan gives Kony, we shall still defeat him,” Museveni said.
“If it is true, then they must stop. We have an obligation to maintain peace and stability in Uganda and any country trying to destabilize us will not be spared,” he added.
Museveni was speaking during celebrations to mark international Labor Day, which was officially hosted by the northern Ugandan district of Gulu.
Relations between Uganda and Sudan had steadily improved, given that in the past the two countries, accused each other of backing rebel movements opposed to regimes in one another’s country.
However, recently relations have worsened. On 16 April at a public address Museveni said the attitude towards ethnicity, culture and religion from Khartoum is a prime example of how not to manage diversity in Africa.
On 20 April Uganda announced it would intervene if full-scale war occurs between Juba and Khartoum.
Now South Sudan is calling upon the regional bloc – Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to take over the mediation of talks to end hostilities between Juba and Khartoum. Uganda is a key player in IGAD and it is therefore likely to be seen as biased by Khartoum. Juba believes that the current mediation, carried out by the African Union (AU), is biased in favour of Khartoum.
Museveni said intelligence reports from the army indicate the LRA have started regrouping and were planning a major offensive in Uganda from neighbouring countries. He said the Ugandan army remains on full alert, in order to avert attacks on the country’s territory.
Aronda Nyaikarima, the Ugandan army commander said his country does not rule out the possibility of sending troops to fight alongside South Sudan, saying their mission will be in pursuit of the LRA whom they claim could be fighting alongside the Sudanese army.
The newly established unit will be comprised of 5,000 soldiers from Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. These are countries known to have been the most affected by more than two decades of LRA insurgency.
Formed in Uganda in the late 1980s, the notorious LRA rebels have, for over 15 years, been the scourge of the region. Following regional armies’ offensives the LRA moved to neighbouring countries and killed, abducted and displaced thousands of people.