Ugandan fighters dump S. Sudanese rebels, surrender to UPDF

Ugandan fighters dump S. Sudanese rebels, surrender to UPDF
Soldiers of the Uganda People’s Defence Force (File Photo)

A group of over 200 men and a few women allegedly serving in various South Sudanese armed opposition groups have surrendered to the Ugandan People’s Defence Force (UPDF).

The group’s membership has continued to increase daily, according to the UPDF Division 4 Commander, Brig. Bonny Bamwiseki.

Brig. Bamwiseki said the Ugandan-Sudanese rebels’ defections have been prompted by the ongoing army integration process, which is rendering South Sudan non-nationals jobless.

“As South Sudan’s main army and the rebel groups are starting to integrate and become one army, our own Ugandans who were part of those rebel groups are beginning to come back, they are reporting every day,” the Daily Monitor quoted Brig. Bamwiseki as saying.

“We requested the governor to come and we have a meeting so that we can plan how to give these returnees good and free passages back home,” Brig. Bamwiseki.

The defectors are said to have been fighting alongside various armed opposition groups, including South Sudan’s main armed opposition – Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A), and the National Salvation Front (NAS).

The City Review could not independently verify that information as Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, the SPLA-IO Spokesperson, could not be reached by phone by press time.

However, earlier this month, Col. Lam denied a similar incident after UPDF reported an unspecified number of armed Uganda youths recruited by SPLM/A-IO and NAS to fight the South Sudan government sundered security in Koboko – a South Sudan-Uganda border town.

“The statement by Ugandan security is very tricky because they have not mentioned where the alleged rebels were based. “South Sudan is large and also the border is big,” Col. Lam told the Daily Monitor on October 7, 2022 “For us, we do not recruit people outside South Sudan, and for us, we do not recruit people into our system. Even during the hot war in 2016, we did not recruit.”

Col. Lam questioned, “Why would Ugandans join our forces when they do not have an agenda? We are currently concentrating on consolidating the peace process only.”