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Kenya assures end to aiding South Sudan opposition groups      

By Julius Gale JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Ambassador to South Sudan said Monday that his country would not allow its territory to be used to carry out rebellious activities against the government and people of neighboring South Sudan.

Cleland Leshore said Kenya supports peace efforts to end the conflict in the world’s youngest country and it would not meddle in South Sudanese affairs.

“I want to assure the government and people of South Sudan, the region and the international community that the government of Kenya will not allow Kenya to be used as a launching pad for any subversive activity against the government and people of South Sudan,” Leshore said in Juba during a plenary meeting organized by South Sudan’s peace monitor, the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC).

He said since South Sudan plunged into civil war in mid-2013, neighboring countries took sides in the conflict, but Kenya remained somewhat neutral as it allowed both government supporters and opposition figures to stay on its territory.

But following renewed violence in Juba in June 2016, which shattered a 2015 peace deal, Nairobi backtracked against South Sudanese opposition groups.

In November 2016, Kenya deported James Gatdet Dak, a spokesman for the main rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) led by former vice president Riek Machar.

James Okuk, lecturer of political science at the University of Juba, said he remains skeptical about Kenya’s interest in getting rid of South Sudanese opposition groups, alleging that Kenya still hosts several opposition figures.

“The statement is too vague and there is nothing much in it to change the current situation in South Sudan because opposition leaders continue to stay in Kenya without fear,” Okuk said.



South Sudan rebel commander arrested in Uganda over recruitment

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- The Ugandan military said on Monday it had arrested a Sudan People’s Liberation Army In the Opposition (SPLA-IO) commander for allegedly recruiting Ugandan youths to join their ranks, a spokesperson said here.

Brig. Richard Karemire, Ugandan military spokesperson told Xinhua that Col. John Data alias Tom Chadiga was arrested in the northwestern district of Koboko for engaging in activities that do not promote security and peace in the neighboring country.

He said Data who has been under military detention has been handed over to Uganda Police Force for further investigations and prosecution.

Karemire said Uganda will not be used as a base to destabilize neighboring South Sudan.

Local media here report that many Ugandan youths and South Sudan refugees are secretly being wooed and recruited to fight alongside the opposition fighters to oust President Salva Kiir.

Uganda is host to more than one million South Sudan refugees. The influx of the refugees was sparked off by fighting in 2013 between troops loyal to Kiir and those supporting former vice president Riek Machar.


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