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Controversy over presence of Uganda in AU panel

Displaced families live in the open after the violence erupted in Dec 2013 - Save the Children photo.

The office of the president says it acknowledges the inclusion of Uganda in the committee formed by the AU Peace and Security Council to analyze the report on atrocities committed by the warring parties in the conflict.

On Friday, the AU Peace and Security Council met and discussed the report, filed by its Inquiry Committee before it can finally be published.

It formed a committee of 7 African member countries to the South Sudan peace talks to analyze the document. They include Algeria, Chad, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

However, the SPLM in Opposition has strongly protested the move, saying Uganda should be removed from the committee.

In a statement, the SPLM in Opposition says Uganda has been party to the conflict since its beginning in 2013, and that its inclusion in the committee makes it a judge in its own case.

It says Ugandan People Defense Forces, UPDF, are in the country fighting alongside the government forces.

But the government says Uganda has the right to be included in the panel because it is part of the negotiating team.

“If the opposition has objections against Uganda being part of the African union panel, then it is they who should report to the African union, because it is the African Union who designed this,” said Ateny Wek Ateny, Press Secretary of Presidential Affairs.

“We don’t have any problems with Uganda being part of the panel, because Uganda is part of African Union, it is part of IGAD. And in as much as we allow Sudan to be one of the negotiating partners in IGAD, and clearly Sudan is supporting the rebels, it is the same thing that Uganda should be allowed to be part of any panel.”