If Uganda does become involved in a land defense of South Sudan against Khartoum, it may find that its own Ugandan People’s Defense Forces are over-stretched. At present, Ugandan troops make up the larger part (5,700) of the 12,000-strong peacekeeping force, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Its fighters are also involved in a two-year-long operation called “Operation Lightning Thunder” against the Lord’s Resistance Army, hunting for top LRA leaders such as Joseph Kony in the jungles of South Sudan, Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Western diplomats, speaking privately to the Monitor, say they worry that Uganda may not be able or willing to sustain all three operations, if it gets involved in the Sudan conflict. “It’s a question of when, not if, Uganda would intervene,” one diplomat told the Monitor. “Their red line is a line of latitude they will not define. That’s a worry for AMISOM.”