News / Africa

Uganda Says Troops Will Stay in South Sudan

A general view shows the opening ceremony of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Jan. 30, 2014.
A general view shows the opening ceremony of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Jan. 30, 2014.
Gabe Joselow
Uganda says it will not fully withdraw its forces from South Sudan, despite concerns their continued presence is complicating efforts to bring peace to the country. Uganda’s role in the conflict is under scrutiny at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa.

Uganda’s military has taken credit for helping to stop rebel forces in South Sudan, and for recapturing the city of Bor, north of the capital.

But a cease-fire deal signed last week between South Sudan’s government and the rebels calls for the progressive withdrawal or redeployment of allied forces in the country.

Speaking after a heads of state meeting of the East African regional group IGAD on the sidelines of the AU summit Friday, Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa said his country’s forces are not withdrawing from their positions in South Sudan.

“No, we have stayed where we are.  Actually we are not advancing ourselves, we just stopped the rebels from advancing southwards, but it’s the government that has been fighting,” he said.

Uganda initially sent troops into the country at the invitation of the South Sudanese government in December, after fighting broke out in the capital of Juba, the result of a political fallout within the ruling party.

Uganda's withdrawal from the country was a key demand of rebel negotiators.

South Sudan’s Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin defended the presence of Ugandan troops, noting they were in the country before the conflict to fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army.

“Don’t forget we are a sovereign state, said Benjamin. "How many armies are fighting in DRC?  We have today 12,000 troops from United Nations of all troops from the world -- are you asking for them to be withdrawn?"

Sudan, which has taken sides with South Sudan’s government during the conflict, has also expressed concerns about Ugandan forces moving too close to the Sudanese border.

“To me, until now, there is no threat, but it could have been a threat if they are near to our borders or if they are colliding with negative forces who are already playing their role in South Sudan,” said Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Kharti.

All three countries are members of IGAD, which has taken the lead in mediating talks between the warring parties.

IGAD envoys Friday called for teams to be sent to South Sudan within 48 hours to start monitoring the cease-fire before negotiations resume on February 7.

Reports of continued fighting from both sides have already threatened the week-old deal.

Speaking at the meeting, U.S. Special Envoy to South Sudan Donald Booth warned  “there will be consequences” for anyone who tries to undermine the peace process.

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by: sentamu from: juba
February 02, 2014 2:09 PM
juba would be also destroyed to zero if updf was absent en machar shud ve waited for elections first instead of trying out a coup that has resulted into more death en distruction of properties than in 1991 massacre he led

by: Ngong Garang from: Aweil South Sudan
February 02, 2014 11:10 AM
Why should they withdraw? Let them bring peace by chasing away the rebels because UN just fuel conflict instead of bringing peace and solution to the problem.

by: bejanybenjamin from: kampala/uganda
February 02, 2014 10:42 AM
Uganda troops must to leave south Sudan if they want peace to return to s.s ,secondly salva kiir must to resigned..for implementation of ceasefire

by: bejanybenjamin from: kampala uganda
February 02, 2014 10:27 AM
DA solution will be dA withdraw of Uganda troops from south Sudan and resignation of saliva kiir

by: kuch aka birdman from: ug,kampala
February 02, 2014 1:02 AM
There is no needs for museveni wildraw his troops out of s.s cause he is doing right
Depite s.s can not mantain peace by it self you can see who is doing right things president or vice no one so museveni is there to help s.s

by: simon from: United states
February 01, 2014 9:28 PM
We as a south sudanese in the U.S are asking ugandan troops to leave south Sudan as soon as possible because the present of ugandan troops in the country will delay the peace deal

by: Anonymous
February 01, 2014 4:22 PM
UN/US will just tell Museveni to pull out his forces and he do as ordered once the chaos the mercenary presence is causing becomes obvious to his bosses. Bashir can just fly in two or three Antenov flights s to bomb some positions and hell will break lose, it is a matter of time before the rebels resist or get help to resist the continued attacks by Kiir and his mercenaries. A one sided approach is counter productive. USA did not stablize Iraq or Afghanistan, and Somalia is as shaky despite the many armies there and all the money UN/EU spends there S-Sudan needs a comprehensive solution, not propping up of a warlord-Kiir who is trying to stifle constitutional rule and inhibit democratic processes.

by: David Mabil from: Zimbabwe
February 01, 2014 1:57 AM
Although Ugandan troops stay in South Sudan for so long, there will be no real peace in South Sudan, if Kiir remains there as a President of the nation. Somebody who made such massacre can not be allowed to rule again. When Kiir and Museveni planed this war they thought that it will be short and easy. Let's wait and see what this upcoming peace talk will bring....

by: Anonymous
January 31, 2014 8:07 PM
Uganda,s withdrawal is the first thing detainees are going to ask when both splm are back to negotiating table. Failure to withdraw Ugandan troop will ignite a war that will be more aggressive than last cycle.

by: Anonymous
January 31, 2014 4:05 PM
To Speed up the withdraw of Museveni's militia that is helping the SPLM faction of Kiir, Mr Bashir(Khartoum) needs to send his fighters down too. That is the only way the Uganda regime can get to its senses and UN can act faster to force Kiir to act fast.
The notion that Museveni is looking for Kony in S-Sudan is a fallacy. S-Sudan needs genuine democracy and reform, but not another warlord like Museveni and Kagame that rule by oppression and suppression of opposition. Ethiopia and Kenya may need to act more assertively too to have a proper mechanism to help the S-Sudan groups live together. The approach of Museveni to impose a dictator stranglehold on S-Sudan is a recipe for suffering for a very long time, it will be resisted. The coup myth alleged by Kiir has been debunked by almost everyone now.
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