Ugandan troops have been deployed along the Uganda-South Sudan border following unrest in the capital Juba.
Army spokesperson Lt Col Paddy Ankunda said Uganda has not deployed soldiers in South Sudan as reported on social media.
““We don’t have even a single soldier there. We are concerned about situation in South Sudan, given likely repercussions, but that’s all,” Ankunda said on Monday while appearing on a local television, NBS.
“We are not deployed there [South Sudan],” he clarified, adding, “Uganda will only deploy in South Sudan upon official request from the government there”.
“If the UPDF is to deploy in South Sudan there are procedures to follow,” Ankunda categorically stated while addressing the press this afternoon at Uganda Media Centre.
He added that, “Let there be no speculation on UPDF deployment in South Sudan.”
Ankunda is, however, optimistic IGAD extraordinary session will forge a way forward on the South Sudan question.
“We may consider evacuating Ugandans from South Sudan if violence escalates,” Ankunda said. We are concerned about the escalating insecurity in South Sudan and Uganda is already experiencing an influx of refugees.”
He affirmed that Uganda will only deploy in South Sudan upon official request from the government there.
“We went to South Sudan upon President Kiir’s invitation . Although many lost lives, we helped stop a genocide.”
Ankunda said South Sudan’s problems are political and can’t be solved with military intervention.
“We have troops along the border with South Sudan to protect the integrity of our border.”
This came at the same time first vice president Riek Machar’s spokesperson claimed the Juba government was entreating Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to send troops to the capital.
“President Salva Kiir’s group is calling on Uganda to send troops to Juba to help it fight against SPLA-IO,” James Gatdet Dak said Sunday evening.
He termed it as another unconstitutional act for foreign interference in “our internal affairs”.
He hoped Uganda will refuse to send troops.
UPDF last entered South Sudan in December 2013 following an alleged coup in the capital.
The Ugandan army managed to secure key security installations in Juba and later the key town of Bor in Jonglei state.
They were, however, forced to pull out of South Sudan in November 2015 following the August peace agreement.
The UN has called for additional peacekeepers as a response to the fresh wave of fighting that has left hundreds killed.
The Security Council is calling on the warring factions “to immediately end the recent fighting and prevent the spread of violence”.