Sunday, September 18, 2005

Gen. Kony's Lord's Resistance Army Turns into 'Crude Oil!'

There is a strong connection between Southern Sudan, Kenya and Uganda. The recent peace accord between the SPLM and Sudan government was negotiated and signed in Kenya, while Uganda gave SPLM support and accommodation. Meanwhile, Sudan hosted the LRA.

Now the table is turning. Garang was sworn in as first vice president of Sudan and the south effectively given self-government or autonomy. In six-year time the south will decide in a referendum whether to secede from Sudan or not.

Garang then made a visit to Kenya and decided to pass through Uganda on his return trip to Sudan. On his way back to his base in New Site in Sudan, Garang was killed in a Uganda presidential helicopter crash. That crash has been mired in controversies prompting Museveni to come out with several conflicting statements about it. In one, he claimed that '"Some people say accident. It may be an accident, it may be something else," Museveni said, according to radio and news agency reports. He said the helicopter was "very well equipped . . .The one I am flying all the time. I am not ruling anything out. Either the pilot panicked, or there was some side wind, or the instruments failed, or there was an external factor."' The Sudanese were baffled.

Before he left Rwakitura, Museveni's Ranch, Garang had made a statement that "Kony won't be hiding there for long. It is not only Kony, but also all the militias who have been operating in the area. We need to provide peace, security and stability, so the militias including those that were formerly supported by the government, must be disbanded."
The terms of the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement effectively splits Sudan into two 'states' and with the existence of large reserve of crude oil particularly in the south, many companies and groups are already vying for prime spot in the country. It would not be surprising if Salim Saleh, Museveni's brother, moved his base into Sudan to 'finish Kony and his LRA.'

What would Museveni the tactician do in such a situation? Less than a month, Silva Kiir the man who replaced Garang made a similar visit to Museveni on September 7, 2005. Garang died in helicopter crash July 30, 2005 after discussing LRA with Museveni. Kiir also discussed the possibility of Sudanese soldiers joining forces with Ugandan army to fight the Lords Resistance Army based in southern Sudan. Now, all of a sudden, Kony and his LRA has shifted further north of the 'red line' deeper into Sudan and Museveni needs to get closer to them! Is Kony the red herring to allow Museveni occupy Southern Sudan?

As reported:
On September 4, 2005 PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has asked Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir to allow the UPDF to pursue LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony, who has fled beyond the Red Line.

A few days later:
KAMPALA, 15 Sep 2005 (IRIN) - A group of about 40 raiders believed to be fighters of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel movement attacked villages in southern Sudan earlier this week, setting homes on fire and abducting several people, officials said on Thursday.There was no report of casualties.

The plot thickens when the LRA, which has hitherto not operated across the White Nile, attacked villages, burned houses and traveled west with the intention of entering the DRC. The cycle is complete. Museveni is positioning himself for a piece of the action in Sudan. In this scenario, Southern Sudan might as well bid goodbye to peace!

In the case of Congo's mineral resources, Museveni paired with Kagame to topple Gen. Mobutu and installed Laurent Kabila. Then the mineral rich areas in the east were occupied by Ugandan and Rwandese troops. These armies were under separate command. In fact, there were several face-offs between Rwandese and Ugandan armies that prevented Museveni from subverting Rwanda's sovereignty.

Will Salva Kiir allow Museveni to wedge Uganda soldiers between Juba and Khartoum? Interestingly, Salva Kiir, when asked about the need for "one Sudan", after Garang's demise, said that "Let us cross the bridge when we reach it". He was referring to the referendum on the issue of a united Sudan, which is due to be held in six years. Museveni may be trying to speed up that day.

1 comment:

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