Gov’t Mulls Evacuation Of Ugandans From South Sudan


click geneva;”>Information Minister, order Rose Namayanja, said government was engaged in intense preparations to evacuate Ugandans trapped in the South Sudan conflict sparked off by a failed coup attempt.

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“Government is working with authorities in South Sudan to evacuate Ugandan citizens as soon as possible,” said Namayanja.

Namayanja also gave guidelines to Ugandans in the war-torn country on how to avoid falling victim to the escalating tensions in the area.

Uganda is the second country after United States to announce plans to get its citizens out of the chaotic country.

Violence broke out on Sunday after soldiers loyal to sacked Vice President, Riek Machar, attempted to overrun two military installations with the view of toppling the government of Salva Kiir.

The armed forces responded with a show of might, killing several mutineers as Machar’s loyalists fled Juba.

The hunt for Machar continues in several parts of the country.

Meanwhile, Air Uganda has resumed flights to Juba, a move that will raise fears about safety of the passengers flying to the tense South Sudan.

Namayanja did not confirm the alleged killing of two Ugandans in South Sudan, saying government would make a formal communication in the near future.

The political relationship between South Sudan and Uganda has been friendly for several decades, in contrast to Kampala’s relationships with the Khartoum government, which have often been strained.

One reason for this is that Sudan’s President, Omar al-Bashir, is alleged to have provided support to the LRA, which terrorized northern Uganda for many years.

President Museveni was a personal friend of South Sudan rebel leader John Garang and supported the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which fought for the region’s independence.

South Sudan had emerged in recent years as the largest importer of Ugandan goods.

Over 150,000 Ugandan traders operate across the border, generating an estimated $900 million in business.

South Sudan relies heavily on its neighbors to provide goods such as construction materials and services such as skilled and unskilled labor.

Approximately 1,500 Ugandans work in Southern Sudan in the construction industry, and 1,200 Ugandan professional are employed there with non-governmental organizations, ministries and industries.

However, Ugandan businessmen in Southern Sudan had repeatedly complained of corruption and discrimination, poor road conditions, harassment by security forces and language barriers.

Below is Namayanja’s full statement in full:

Like any other war situation, the current armed conflict in our neighboring sister country pauses a serious danger to the safety of many civilians, including Ugandan traders and our other citizens living and working in South Sudan.

Information available to the Government is that Government of southern Sudan is in charge of the situation.

While this is a source of hope that full normalcy will prevail, the situation in South Sudan is still fluid and the danger is not over yet.

The Government has also noted some media reports in Uganda of conflicting figures of our citizens trapped in war situation South Sudan. The Government would therefore like to state as follows;

• We are still consulting authorities in South Sudan to officially ascertain if there are any casualties of Ugandan nationals arising from the war-situation in the country.

• Any casualties or cases of injured Ugandan citizens will be officially announced once Government has verified their identities with authorities and Humanitarian Agencies in South Sudan.

Meanwhile, for purposes of their security, the Government advises Ugandans caught-up in the war situation in South Sudan to observe the following measures:

• If possible, seek sanctuary at Uganda’s Embassy in Juba, South Sudan.

• Where possible, seek alternative sanctuary at the nearest offices of the UN/Humanitarian Agencies.

• Strictly observe the curfew hours as declared on Monday by the Government of South Sudan i.e. between 18:00 hours and 06:00 hours.

• Whenever possible, keep in-doors as the situation in South Sudan remains tense and unpredictable.

• Avoid secluded locations and move in groups if must really move out-doors.

• Avoid getting taking sides in the conflict in South Sudan or appearing to do so.

• If you are elsewhere in South Sudan you should consider leaving if it is safe to do so.

• Ugandans in south Sudan should be on the look-out and avoid large crowds and demonstrations as they could degenerate into violence.

• Government working with authorities in South Sudan to evacuate Ugandan citizens as soon as possible.

The Government of Uganda maintains a neutral stance to the conflict in South Sudan and calls for restraint from the parties involved.

We also recommend dialogue and a negotiated resolution to the on-going conflict in South Sudan.

Uganda hopes that the conflict is resolved quickly in the interest of peace in South Sudan and stability in the region.

Meanwhile, the UPDF has been deployed to monitor developments at Uganda’s border with South Sudan to prevent any possible spill-over of hostilities into Ugandan territory.


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