Kadaga Recalls Parliament from Recess to Discuss South Sudan Situation

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Uganda Parliament

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has recalled Parliament from recess so that the issue about UPDF’s deployment in South Sudan is discussed.

Parliament will start meeting again on Tuesday January 14 2014 to discuss on if Uganda should interfere in South Sudan affairs or not.

This comes after members of Parliament demanded answers from President Yoweri Museveni after deploying troops from the national army to South Sudan without seeking parliamentary authorization as enshrined in the constitution.

However, Col Ankunda, the UPDF spokesperson defends the government saying President Museveni decided to send troops because there is need for a force to secure Juba since it is an entry point.

“We have a bi-lateral understanding with the government of Juba to act the way we are acting,” said Col Ankunda.

He also said whatever happens to our neighbors affects the whole region, so there is need to ensure there is security in all the regional countries. “You don’t have to wait until people die to come in and rescue people immediately.”

On Thursday morning, sources said five Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) tanks were seen heading to the South Sudan border between the West Nile Nimule.

On Wednesday, the South Sudan ambassador, Samuel Lominsuk also defended Uganda saying: “In Africa, what happens in one man’ house must be a concern for all the neighboring homes.”

He also said his government, DRC and Uganda have a military agreement that allows UPDF to enter South Sudan to hunt for LRA rebels led by Joseph Kony, “which prompted UPDF to intervene and defend Uganda’s borders.”

Since the violence in South Sudan started three weeks ago, at least 189,000 people have been displaced inside South Sudan and 23,000 have crossed into neighbouring countries.

UN predicts that up to 400,000 people could be displaced if the fighting continues.

Uganda is the most popular destination for the refugees, with almost 25,000 arrivals since the South Sudan crisis began, Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) said.

URCS Communications officer Catherine Ntabadde has said at least 3,249 South Sudanese crossed to Uganda through Elegu.

She said the number of refugees in the country is forcing Uganda to open new camps.

Currently, Dzaipi Transit Centre has 19,866 refugees but more refugees are coming into the country. However, if the new camps are open, Uganda will have the capacity to accommodate 50,000 refugees in the area.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says by Monday 23,546 South Sudanese refugees had arrived in Uganda.

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