The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has started withdrawing from South Sudan, the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Katumba Wamala, announced yesterday.
The Ugandan army entered S. Sudan in December 2013, following a request by President Salva Kirr after a conflict had broken out claiming thousands of lives.
Addressing reporters at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, Wamala said: “Yes it is true, the boys are coming home...as I speak, the Chief of Lands Forces is in South Sudan to effect the withdrawal.”
The army chief gave a deadline of November 1 for the 3,000 troops to have withdrawn, adding that they want to have an organised withdrawal and handover to the South Sudan government and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNAMISS).
“We have discussed this in detail with the South Sudan Government and I think they are ready to take over this responsibility,” Gen. Wamala added.
Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs permanent secretary, James Mugume, said the UPDF helped secure Juba airport and other strategic installations and guaranteed safety of entry and exit for foreigners and nationals.
“Importantly, under the IGAD mediated Agreement of August 17 in Addis Ababa, Uganda is one of the guarantors of the peace process in South Sudan. Subsequently, Lt. Gen Ivan Koreta has been appointed to the Ceasefire Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM),” he said.