25 April 2014

Uganda Accuses Khartoum of Resuming Support for LRA

Juba — A senior Ugandan government official on Wednesday accused Sudan of resuming its support for the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels.

Sudan's president Omer Hassan al-Bashir delivers a speech on 27 January 2014 in the capital, Khartoum (Photo: AFP/Ebrahim Hamid)

Speaking on the seemingly wary relations between the two countries, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi said Uganda has filed a complaint with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) about Sudan's alleged support for LRA.

"We had hoped that we had put all this behind us, but sadly, Sudan has not stopped supporting Joseph Kony and the LRA," Mbabazi reportedly said.

"Sudan accused us of supporting rebellion in their country, which I denied. The OIC has taken note of our complaints and it has expressed willingness to mediate", he added.

Both Sudan and Uganda are members of the OIC, a 57-member body which safeguards and protect the vital interests of Muslims as well as work for the settlement of conflicts and disputes involving member states.

Kampala and Khartoum have, in the past, traded accusations of supporting rebel groups. Sudan government says Uganda hosts Sudanese Revolutionary Front rebels.

SUDAN RECALLS ENVOY

The strained relationship between Uganda and Sudan deteriorated further with Khartoum recently recalling its ambassador to Kampala Hussein Awad Ali, over long held suspicions that Uganda was harbouring Sudanese rebels.

Diplomatic sources told The East African that Sudan's ambassador to Uganda left the country on 17 April after he was recalled by the Khartoum government.

Some sources, however, said the Sudanese diplomat was requested to leave Uganda after intelligence information reportedly linked him to espionage.

Uganda's Foreign Affairs spokesperson said it was within Khartoum's prerogative to recall it envoy, adding that Uganda already explained its position to Sudan regarding the presence of its rebels in Kampala.

"What Uganda has done is to give shelter to their [Sudanese rebel] families and of course they come in to visit their families, but are not allowed to launch any war from here", Fred Opolot was quoted saying.

Uganda expelled a Sudanese diplomat last year over alleged espionage. Kampala accused Jad-el-Seed Mohammed Elhag of involvement in "activities beyond the norm."

In January last year, Sudan lodged a complaint against Uganda with the African Union and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, after the opposition political parties and Sudan rebels signed an agreement dubbed "New Dawn" in Kampala whose aim, Khartoum said, was to overthrow the regime.

Uganda has, however, denied having any intentions of overthrowing the Khartoum regime or supporting any rebel group with the intention of regime change.

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