South Sudan’s armed opposition faction under the leadership of former First Vice President, Riek Machar, has refuted as ‘negative campaign’ accusations that their fighters abducted two Ugandan nationals on the Juba-Nimule road.
According to James Gatdet Dak, the accusations made by the South Sudan Police Inspector General, General Makur Maruol, were diversionary, probably aimed at enticing Uganda to redeploy in South Sudan as happened during the two-year civil war between 2013 and 2015.
Addressing the media in Kampala on Saturday had accused the opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA-IO) of allegedly holding Ugandans hostage and demanding money as ransom to set them free.
“I have learnt that some of the [Ugandan] relatives are receiving calls from [the SPLA-IO abductors demanding for a ransom. We’ll make all the available means to secure the release of the two. It is a joint venture,” Maruol told reporters.
But responding to the accusation Machar’s spokesperson said: “This is a mere negative campaign against our Movement. Our forces have never abducted civilians, South Sudanese or foreigners, let alone demanding for ransom.”
Dak further claimed that if it was true, it could be soldiers and police loyal to the ‘rogue regime’ in Juba that kidnapped the Ugandan nationals to either get the ransom or use it to smear the image of the SPLA-IO forces.