Ugandan troops are fighting alongside South Sudan's President Salva Kiir's troops in the ongoing conflict between government and rebel forces, in what Uganda says is an attempt to protect its many citizens doing business in the the world's newest nation.
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni revealed the troops’ involvement as well as that a few Ugandan soldiers have been injured and others killed on 15 January, 2014 while speaking at the 5th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region [ICGLR] on Peace and Security in Luanda, Angola. Rumors had circulated of Uganda's presence in South Sudan, but this was the first time the government had confirmed it.
The following day, Uganda's two most read newspapers, the government-owned New Vision and the independent Daily Monitor, covered the news on their front pages, but with very different headlines. New Vision's read, “UPDF [Ugandan People's Defence Force] Hit South Sudan Rebels”, while the Daily Monitor printed, “Machar's Fighters Kill UPDF Soldiers”.
Social media users quickly reacted to the story.
Benjamin Rukwengye wrote on Twitter that the New Vision headline meant to show that victory is more of a priority than the soldiers dying:
‘Priorities’ is when even with reports that UPDF men might have been killed in S. Sudan, New Vision's top story is about a victory!
— Benjamin Rukwengye (@BibiRukwengye) January 16, 2014
Winnie Byanyima, the wife of Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye, tweeted:
Machar’s fighters kill UPDF soldiers http://t.co/AQ0Tl5biyV Will Uganda's unilateral intervention not undermine the regional peace talks?
— Winnie Byanyima (@Winnie_Byanyima) January 16, 2014
On Facebook, Charlotte Kemigyisha wrote:
About 48 hours ago, the Army spokesperson was denying any deaths of UPDF soldiers in Sudan. 24 hours later his Boss H.E. acknowledges death having been suffered on both sides during a cross fire. Question is; next time round, who will I believe?
Readers on both newspapers’ websites also commented on the news.
Peter asked for proof concerning the deaths and injuries on what the president said:
Where is the proof? Just because M7 [Presient Yoweri Museveni] said so does not mean so. Not surprising, this is the quality of today's journalists, particularly NV [New Vision newspaper] being mouth piece of Ug government
Elgon58 asked the president:
It started with the UPDF evacuating ugandans ,then UPDF prividing a safe corridor for ugandans to go home then UPDF guarding important installations in juba and finally UPDF fighting alongside the SPLA..Mr president why didn´t you tell us from the beginning that the UPDF was rushing to give support to the SPLA.Who is going to foot the bill?Why were the kenyans and ethiopians not involved in supporting the SPLA?
Only fools can claim they didn't know UPDF was involved in combat operations in S. Sudan
Bishanga thinks the UPDF soldiers dying in South Sudan are actually being killed by the President indirectly:
Why President Museveni should be actively fighting rebels led by Riek Machar in South Sudan fully knowing that two clans are involved in the figting.Is Museveni fighting the Rebels to create peace or fuel the fighting President Museveni must know that the UPDF Soldiers dying in the War of South Sudan are being killed by him indirectly because he did this to kill soldiers he does not want in the UPDF because I the first instance Museveni deployed these dead soldiers to South Sudan before getting blessing from the Parliament of Uganda.