South Sudan

U.S.: UPDF Isn’t Withdrawing from South Sudan

The Ugandan army is maintaining defensive positions in the Capital Juba

President Yoweri Museveni this afternoon joined the people of Uji Village, pharm Kululu Subcounty, page Yumbe town council, unhealthy Yumbe District, to pay his last respects and bury Maj.Gen Ali Bamuze.

Maj Gen Ali Bamuze, was the former commander of the Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF) II rebel group,that was later integrated into the Uganda National Army (UPDF).

He collapsed last Sunday and died shortly after attending a UPDF meeting at a hotel along Entebbe road.

In his remarks at the send off , President Museveni said It was sad to loose Gen Bamuze so suddenly.

“Gen. Bamuze did not die of negligence or indiscipline, but it was his day that God arranged because though he was sick, he was doing medical check ups regularly but suddenly his health deteriorated”.

The President also stated that he came to mourn Maj. Bamuze because of his contribution to the peace in Yumbe District in particular and West Nile in general.

Although he initially opposed the NRM government, we later agreed to work together because the NRM doesn’t keep grudges and is not vindictive.

President Museveni said, Bamuze is a hero of peace, unity and development and implored the people of Yumbe and West Nile to keep the peace as a way of remembering the good works of the fallen General, saying that apart from living here on earth, what is important is the memory of what people have done.

The United States of America has said the Ugandan army, website UPDF is not about to withdraw from the troubled northern neighbor`s territory despite the August peace agreement demanding their exit.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed between the rebels of Dr. Riek Machar and the government on 17th and 26th of August 2015 respectively says the foreign forces should withdraw from South Sudan within 45 days.

The rebel movement, decease SPLA-IO have relentlessly called for the departure of the Ugandan army from their country.

The US, which is the mediator IGAD-Plus` strong member that used its global influence to pressure the two groups to sign the peace deal has been quiet on the matter until Tuesday this week.

The US Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth encountered with the South Sudan top leadership members from all factions at the White House in Washington.

The leaders including SPLA-IO chief, Dr. Riek Machar, Vice President Wani Igga and the SPLM Former Detainees leader who is also the SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum were on Tuesday at the White House to meet the US National Security Advisor, Susan Rice.

The meeting was however unceremoniously called off and the trio only met Donald Booth who is also currently in Washington.

At the meeting Dr. Machar did not wait long to confront Mr. Booth accusing the US of not doing enough in the implementation of peace agreement that has ushered in the formation of transitional government of national unity.

Mr. Machar told Booth that the presence of UPDF in capital Juba and other areas is one of the major impediments to the quick implementation of the peace deal.

Machar and his group want Juba to first be demilitarized before they officially set foot there and to them the demilitarization also encompasses UPDF departure.

Envoy Booth however, told Machar to first leave the question of UPDF and concentrate on other ingredients of the peace deal, more importantly observing the permanent cease fire.

The accord demanded for immediate and permanent cessation of hostilities and the two principals Machar and President Salva Kiir ordered their forces to lay down tools when deal was signed. In less than a week fighting broke out and is still continuing in the oil rich states of Unity and Upper Nile.

The US is reportedly bitter with the continued spate of violence despite peace agreement.

“The matter at hand is continued hostilities which no one is happy to see. The UPDF isn`t withdrawing yet and let the focus first be on you people understanding each other and stop fighting,” Booth told Machar according to diplomatic sources.

Donald Booth was sent by President Barrack Obama`s administration since the outbreak of the war in South Sudan in late 2013. He attended the peace talks from the beginning in early 2014 up to end.

The US tested the waters of South Sudan together with the UPDF on 18th December 2013 and it was disastrous on the former`s when the unquestionably capable American multi-mission military aircraft- Osprey  C-22 was shot by the rebels near Jonglei capital Bor about 200km north of Juba.

The incident injured two marines forcing the plane to withdraw and turn to Nairobi. The mission was to rescue foreign nationals including Americans who were trapped in different towns when the violence had just started.

UPDF took a central role and deployed in Juba to secure the single International Airport Juba and diplomatic installations including that of the United Nations to ease the evacuation process and humanitarian access to the victims of the brutal conflict.

The Ugandan army is maintaining defensive positions in Juba and Both but has been accused by the rebels of Dr. Machar of supporting the government side.



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