Uganda has dispatched 30 trucks to the South Sudan capital Juba to evacuate trapped nationals.
The minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Amelia Kyambadde, told press at Uganda Media Centre that the evacuation was supposed to start Tuesday, but would first get more information from UPDF.
Kyambadde urged traders to register with the Uganda Embassy as they make way to foreign countries since most of them go informally.
She advised the Uganda business community to explore other market opportunities (EAC and COMESA) in the meantime.
“The government of Uganda is monitoring the developments as they unfold in. The embassy territory. The Ugandan embassy has been facilitated to take care of Ugandans in Juba.”
She cautioned Ugandans to stay indoors and those near the Ugandan embassy to move within through the Eastern route.
“However, security has gone in to clear the road and send in 30 trucks that are going to evacuate Ugandans. The Juba airport is still closed and the main road to Nimule too is closed.”
She said Uganda Foreign Affairs has consulted the security personnel and they are doing all that it takes.
“We have not received a comprehensive report on the status of Ugandans in Juba.”
According to the minister, the December 2013 civil war caused a steady decrease in Uganda’s exports from $ 414m to $ 385m (2014) & $353m (2015).
Total exports peaked $ 1.18bn in 2008 when South Sudan became Uganda’s leading export destination following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
Uganda has already sent a number of soldiers to rescue nationals stuck in South Sudan.
“UPDF should be rolling into South Sudan now as we speak,” says government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo.
According to Opondo, the rescue mission will be based in Nisitu,.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem says the hotline +211 9283 020 44 will help citizens in different parts of the country to seek consular services and support.
The number is available for call, text of WhatsApp.
Five Ugandans were killed and hundreds remain trapped in the fighting between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and First Vice-President Riek Machar.
The fighting has claimed over 300 lives in a space of five days.