The spokesperson of the South Sudan rebel chief says the opposition forces don’t have any Ugandan hostages as claimed by the Juba government.
Gen Makur Maruol, the Inspector General of the South Sudan National Police services, told Ugandan police that South Sudan based rebels were demanding a ransom to release Ugandans kidnapped during ambushes on buses along Juba-Nimule highway.
Maruol said the group, believed to be loyal to the former First Vice President Riek Machar, since August held about 41 Ugandans.
Maroul said atleast 26 Ugandans are still held by the rebel group.
He asked Uganda police to trace the relatives of all the victims so they can help track the kidnappers.
However, James Gatdet Dak, Riek Machar’s spokesperson, said SPLA (IO) forces have not kidnapped any Ugandan citizen, or any other national, or allegedly asked for money as ransom in order to release them.
“This is a negative propaganda by the rogue regime in Juba,” Gatdet said, adding that “SPLA (IO) forces are well disciplined and have never detained civilians or used them for ransom.”
He went on: “I suspect that those of Salva Kiir’s senior police officers who lied about this to Ugandan authorities while in “Kampala” could be making the propaganda as a sort of lucrative project to get money from in the name of “asked” fake ransom somewhere. Or they could be the ones holding Ugandan nationals hostage somewhere.”
Gatdet said the Juba regime could be making the claim as a pretext to try to persuade Uganda to deploy its troops into South Sudan again, which would of course be a direct interference in the South Sudanese internal conflict as well as an automatic serious violation of the sovereignty of the Republic of South Sudan and a suspected intention to violate its territorial integrity in the future.
“We would expect the Ugandan government not to listen to such desperate lies from the regime in Juba.”