Uganda will withdraw its troops from South Sudan starting April to pave way for the deployment of an African peacekeeping force, Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kuteesa announced yesterday.
The UPDF will be replaced by the yet-to-be-formed African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) forces. “As soon as the ACIRC comes on board, the 1st contingent of Ugandan forces will return home. I expect this to be in the shortest period of time, which is two months,” he added.
Urged to withdraw
The announcement comes just days after the US, Ethiopia and Khartoum called on Uganda to withdraw its troops from the world’s youngest nation.
Speaking to journalists in Kampala yesterday, Mr Kuteesa said the AU Peace and Security committee is expected to meet soon to work out modalities for deployment of ACIRC in South Sudan.
Countries that have offered to contribute troops to ACIRC include Uganda, Algeria, Angola, Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mauritania, Niger, South Africa, Sudan, and Tanzania.
Mr Kuteesa, however, dismissed claims that Uganda was forced to withdraw from South Sudan by its development partners.
“We have not been under any pressure to leave South Sudan but as a regional player, it is prudent that Uganda gives the ACIRC plans a chance.”