Uganda Will Regret South Sudan Mission, says ex Spy Chief


doctor sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 150%;”>The warning came from former Director General External Security Organization (ESO), David Pulkol who described most of UPDF’s foreign military engagements as overambitious and bent more towards region survival than peace and security.

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Speaking at a recent conference held on Peace and Security in the East African region in Kampala, Pulkol said that while Uganda’s military interventions in South Sudan, Somalia, DRC and C.A.R continued to highlight the evolution to maturity and sophistication of the UPDF, a number of mistakes were being repeatedly committed that would come back to haunt the country in the near future.

He pointed out Uganda’s mission in neighbouring south Sudan, which he said was only but creating future enemies for the country.

“For example if you go killing the Nuers. These aren’t Kony, they aren’t Al Shabaab; they have in fact withdrawn from Juba to their home areas, and you take our national army bomb them in Bor and Malakal,” charged Pulkol.

“Even if you are securing Uganda’s trade route or hunting for Kony, then you should be where Kony is. What was the UPDF doing in Bentiu and Malakal? In the process of trying to resolve a problem, we could be actually creating a bigger problem for ourselves.”

The UPDF maintains its presence in South Sudan prevented the country from sliding into genocide.

UPDF guards Juba International Airport and strategic state installations.

When war broke out in December, synchronised combat units of UPDF’s Special Forces managed to thwart an attempt by rebels loyal to Dr Riek Machar to capture Juba.

Since then, calm has been restored as negotiations take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


However, the former spy chief said Uganda has already tasted a number of repercussions of self-centered intrusions of other countries.

“The other time our forces invaded the DRC, looted their way out, and plunged the whole country into a disaster. There is still an unresolved case in the international court of justice, and we must pay billions of money to Congo.”

Pulkol wondered why Uganda – member of the EAC and IGAD and having shown willingness to collaborate with her partner states especially in terms of Military intelligence, still goes ahead to embark on solitary interventions in warring Countries.

“Why do we want to work in isolation, in securing peace for the whole region? Why don’t we go in a regional framework? Who are we? This is why we are being seen as taking sides in the South Sudan war. We are being part of the conflict rather than a solution,”

Kulayigye fires back

Responding to Pulkol’s submission at the conference, UPDF’s Chief Political Commissar Col Felix Kulayigye said his concerns were largely misinformed.

“First of all we are not in Malakal of Bentiu and we have not bombed civilians,” he clarified.

“We also could not wait for the region to move into south Sudan, because genocide was simmering. For the last six months IGAD has shown willingness to deploy in South Sudan but to date, no single soldier has been dispatched,” he said.

Kulayigye noted that Uganda rushes to curtail war outbreaks in her neighbouring countries because it has lived in a state of conflict and understand its implications.

“We have been bitten by this snake and we know its wrath. Uganda is very sensitive to conflict. It’s only ideal that we must guard this nation against especially spillovers from across the border.”

Besides, added Kulayigye, Uganda has once been attacked by her neighbours long before invading them.

“You remember that in 1996, the Mubutu government supported the ADF rebels to attack us: we had never gone there.”

He added, “Once Safari ants enter your hour house, you can never rest. Unless you tress their origin in an anthill or a tree and destroy them, they will keep coming. Uganda doesn’t deal with symptoms, but causes.”


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