Uganda Announces South Sudan Troops Pull-Out In About Face From Minister's Statement

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Uganda's Gen. Wamala. Troop pullout to start immediately

In an about-turn Uganda has announced that it will start withdrawing troops immediately from South Sudan and complete operations by the end of November.

As recent as three weeks ago Uganda's foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa at the United Nations told a reporter from InnerCity Press that Uganda would not withdraw from South Sudan because it's troops were there together with U.S. troops to operate from there and search for the Lord's Resistance Army in the Central African Republic.

(The Black Star News has previously reported that Kutesa may have a commercial conflict of interest since his private company ENHAS has a contract to operate Juba airport perhaps explaining the reluctance to pull out).

At the time the warring parties, South Sudan President Salva Kirr and his former Vice President Riek Machar finally signed a peace deal after several delays and aborted talks the U.S. had warned that there would be "consequences for those who continue to stand in the way of peace."

The strongly worded statement was by National Security Advisor Susan Rice and also seen as a signal to President Yoweri Museveni. Uganda, which had been invited as a mediator had joined Kirr's side against Machar's rebels.

Machar was visiting Washington, D.C., last week and it's unclear if this had anything to do with Uganda's sudden change.

“The UPDF was sent in South Sudan in November 13, 2013 to maintain security, prevent genocide and support the government of Juba administration,” said Gen. Katumba Wamala, the chief of Uganda People's Defense Forces, announcing the pullout.

“We shall hand over the responsibility of South Sudan to the joint administration of both president Salvar Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar in accordance to Addis-Ababa peace deal,” he added.

Wamala said reporters will be invited to see the handover.

The Foreign Ministry's Ambassador James Mugume told reporters the UPDF withdrawal takes effect today.

After another delay Kiir signed the deal on August 27, 2015, long after Machar had done so. 

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