Thursday, November 18, 2010

Uganda asks Sudan to provide evidence of aiding Darfur rebels

Uganda asks Sudan to provide evidence of aiding Darfur rebels
Source: Xinhua - english.peopledaily.com
Date: Tuesday, 16 November 2010 at 21:42
The Ugandan government has asked Sudan to prove that the East African country had agreed to train over 80 rebels of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) fighting in Sudan's Darfur region, a senior Foreign Ministry official said on Tuesday.

James Mugume, permanent secretary of the ministry, told Xinhua by telephone that several meetings with Sudanese authorities, including an invitation by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni come to Uganda and verify their claims have yielded nothing since August.

"Absolutely there is no truth in it. We have asked these people to come, we are waiting for them," he said.

According to the allegation, Sudan had got a letter in which a junior Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) officer had written to a military academy director in Uganda to have over 80 JEM rebels trained here.

Daily Monitor, a newspaper here reported on Tuesday that Uganda' s ambassador to Sudan Betty Akech had been summoned twice by the Sudan Foreign Ministry over the allegations.

The daily reported that in such a meeting held on Aug. 16, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry told the ambassador that the allegations had been confirmed by an impeccable source and the "repercussions would be grave."

The Ugandan government, however, doubts the authenticity of the letter wondering how a junior SPLA officer can write to a director of a military academy in Uganda.

"We think somebody was doctoring, the list of the 80 people looked like somebody picked a list of names of some refugees in a camp in Darfur," he said.

Uganda and Sudan had been foes with each of them accusing the other of arming its dissidents.

Sudan accused Uganda of supporting the SPLA rebels who were fighting in southern Sudan, while Uganda accused Sudan of arming rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) that caused tens of thousands of deaths in northern Uganda.

The Ugandan military last month announced that the LRA leader Joseph Kony who has also caused mayhem in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo had crossed to Darfur.

Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye, Uganda's army spokesman, told reporters on Oct. 29 that Sudan was aware of Kony's presence in Darfur, but could not say whether the authorities there were supporting him like they did before.

Sudan is currently under international spotlight as it heads for a referendum early next year that will determine whether southern Sudan stays as part of Sudan or breaks away.

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