SPLA Deputy Chief-of- Staff for Logistics and head of the government delegation to the recent IGAD Security Workshop in Addis Ababa, Lt. General Ruben Malek, says Ugandan army will start withdrawing from South Sudan on Sunday, September 27, 2015.
The East African last week reported that partners in the South Sudan peace agreement meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, agreed on Thursday on the withdrawal of all foreign forces in South Sudan by October 10.
Among the foreign troops are Uganda People’s Defence Forces who were deployed in Juba after the outbreak of fighting in December 2013.
Other foreign forces to leave the country include; Sudanese Revolutionary Forces (SPLM-North) that are also fighting the Khartoum government in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and the Dafur-based rebels, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the Sudan Liberation Army-Minawi (SLA-MM) and SLA-A led by Abdul Wahid.
Lt Gen Malek further told Eye radio that by 10th of October, the UPDF forces will be out of the country.
Lt. Gen Malek says this was resolved during the discussions last week between generals from both the government and the opposition sides, as part of the implementation of the peace agreement.
According to the agreement, all foreign forces allied to both the government and the opposition sides are supposed to leave the country within 45 days after the signing of the peace agreement.
Lt. General Malek says the UPDF troops will start withdrawing on the 27th of this month.
“The timeline of their withdrawal is stated between September 27thup to 10th of October,” Lt Gen Malek told the radio.
Part of UPDF to stay in Yambio
The agreement, however, exempts Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) based in Yambio, Western Equatorial, because they had been deployed in 2010 as part of the African Union Joint Force to pursue Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.
Malek further clarified that the UPDF forces deployed in Western Equatoria state will not be removed, because they are under a separate arrangement.
“The ones in Western Equatoria are not affected by this agreement; it’s a quadruple arrangement connecting Central Africa Republic, South Sudan, Uganda and Congo plus the American US Forces,” he is quoted as saying.
“These are in pursuit of the Regional Alliance Strategic Agreement to pursue the LRA,” he said in reference to Ugandan soldiers based in Nzara, a few Kilometers from Yambio Town.