SPLA-IO denies claims of recruiting Ugandans into army

By William Madouk Garang

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) has denied having recruited Ugandan youths in their army command and challenged authorities in Uganda’s Koboko District to justify and reveal their names.

In an exclusive interview with No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, the SPLA-IO Spokesman, Col. Lam Paul Gabriel said their army doesn’t engage in conscription of non-South Sudanese.

“These people who might have surrendered to them, those people are not from SPLA-IO – they might be people who are after something because these days, people have issues of gaining fame or they alleged to get something in return,” Gabriel said.

“That’s not true, we don’t recruit from Uganda and we never recruited anyone from Uganda – we don’t have foreigners,” he continued.

He explained that forces that were stationed at border close to Uganda were being relocated for the integration purpose and he wondered where the alleged 500 Ugandan youths came from.

“I am challenging if RDC have 500, they should produce them before the supervision security mechanism, explaining that these people come from SPLA-IO then we can tell if this is true” Lam said.

Col. Lam said what confused people is that one community can be found in three different countries and also intermarriage with one another as well as some can claim to be a citizen of any of the countries.

“When a Kakwa comes to you – are you going to tell him, you are a Ugandan not a South Sudanese or you are not a South Sudanese you are Ugandan. So this is confusing because any person who comes here tells you that I am a South Sudanese,” he explained.

Yesterday, authorities in Koboko district in Uganda West Nile region said some Ugandan youths who were allegedly recruited as rebels to fight the South Sudanese government, surrendered after life became difficult in the jungles.

They said the youths were allegedly recruited into Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) and National Salvation Front (NAS).

Koboko Resident District Commissioner, Mr. Tom Olinga, said: “So far we have received four guns and Yumbe district has received six guns and some few military assortments handed over willingly from these boys who are returning back. The guns are currently with our UPDF authorities.”

According to the RDC, the intelligence reports show that over 500 youth who had crossed to join the rebel activities in South Sudan are expected to report back to Uganda.

“We have the information already and we know them per Sub County but they are free to come back so long as they are not a security threat,” he added.

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