PHOTOS: 20,000 Evacuated as UPDF Ends South Sudan Mission  

Up to 20,000 people have been evacuated from South Sudan (Photos by Kenneth Kazibwe)

By close of business on Tuesday evening, ambulance over 20, pharmacy 000 people had been evacuated as the Uganda People’s Defense Forces ended their   mission in South Sudan code named ‘Wokowa’.

At around 3pm a 3KM long convoy led by Ugandan bodaboda riders and other vehicles that carried household items arrived at Elegu border point escorted by UPDF soldiers.

Evacuees cross the border at Elegu

Evacuees cross the border at Elegu

The visibly happy evacuees were seen waving and saluting as a sign of respect to the Ugandan troops as they moved past them and it took past 8pm for the last vehicle from the convoy to reach Elegu.

Addressing journalists, the commander of the operation Brig. Kayanja Muhanga said the last batch consisted of over 6000 people.



“In total we have in the 3 batches evacuated more than 20,000 people from Juba to Uganda. It was a successful mission altogether,” Brig. Muhanga told journalists.

“We managed to evacuate most of the Ugandans who were able to come to Juba but there are others still in Rumbek and Bor where we didn’t go.”


Even Uganda Prisons was involved in the mission

The operation commander said Juba is now safe but added that the Juba- Nimule highway is risky due to ambushes carried out by the different armed groups on people who use the road.

5 Die in Evacuation

Meanwhile, five people were confirmed dead when the trailer they were traveling in lost control and over turned in a valley. Dozens of other evacuees sustained injuries according to Brig. Muhanga.

He said that the driver of the trailer failed to negotiate a sharp corner and the vehicle lost control.

In an interview with Chimpreports, one of the survivors, Martin Walakira narrated how the speeding trailer overturne.

“As the driver sped, he realized there was a UPDF vehicle coming from the opposite direction, he then tried to avoid it and the vehicle lost control overturning into a valley. We registered some deaths where many others were injured. I survived miraculously,” Walakira told this website.

Ugandans Abducted

Meanwhile, the police director in charge of operations Asuman Mugyenyi told journalists that 8 Ugandans had been abducted by South Sudan rebels in Lamwo district.

He revealed that his team had tasked the local security committee to start negotiations to have them released.

Evacuees Narrate Ordeal

Chimpreports spoke to some of the evacuees   who narrated the suffering they went through since the fighting that started as a simple shooting broke out days ago.

“A few days to the country’s independence celebrations, fighting broke out. We started hearing gunshots in Jebel but we didn’t know what exactly had happened,” narrated 25 year old Molly Nabakooza.

Some Ugandans says they are going back to South Sudan

Some Ugandans says they are going back to South Sudan

“We were told it was a fight between the guards for Riek Machar and Salva Kiir whereas other people said   the president  wanted to arrest his vice .”

She said that most of the fighting was in Tongpi, Newsite and Jebel where Machar rebels raided the market and looted everything.

To Fatuma Ayune, suffering was the order of the day as they spent most of the nights in the bushes as guns rocked Jebel.

Kids have a meal upon arrival in Uganda

Kids have a meal upon arrival in Uganda

“During the day, the rebels moved house by house looting everything they set sight on including spoons but at night bullets would fall like rain,” she narrated.

“I witnessed as my neighbor being shot in the back of the head and the bullet came out from one of her eyes. She was caught in crossfire and could not take cover.”

Some of the evacuees told this website that most of their property had been looted and businesses ruined. Some had hope of returning to the world’s youngest nation even if the fighting stops.


On arriving in Uganda, all the evacuees were received as a point set up at Elegu near the border where they were screened and the non – Ugandans are sent to another centre for refugees.

In an interview with Chimpreports, Mr. Titus Jobo, the refugee desk officer from the Office of the Prime Minister said that at the refugee centre they are subject checks, vaccination and immunization.

At the refugee camp

At the refugee camp

“We immunize every person below the age of 5 against polio whereas those below 15 years are immunized against measles because in South Sudan these practices are not carried out by government,” Jobo said.

He noted that from here the refugees are then transported to a camp in Adjuman where they are settled.

End of Mission?

According to the Chief of Staff Land Forces in UPDF , Brig. Leopold Kyanda, this was last batch stressing the mission had ended  after evacuating almost everyone from Juba.

Chief of Staff Land Forces in UPDF , Brig. Leopold Kyanda, (C) says they were waiting to be advised on the next course of action

Chief of Staff Land Forces in UPDF , Brig. Leopold Kyanda, (C) says they were waiting to be advised on the next course of action

“We have been able to evacuate most Ugandans and today was our last batch. In case of anything else, we shall be guided on what to do next and how to proceed,” Brig. Kyanda said.

The UPDF on July 14 after an order from the Commander in Chief and President Museveni went for the South Sudan mission in a bid to evacuate Ugandans but according to Brig. Kyanda, they have saved many other nationalities who were been trapped in Juba.

“Among those we evacuated included South Sudanese, Kenyans, Ethiopians, Burundians, British, Indians, Eritreans and Rwandese among other nationals.”






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