Ugandan troops will start leaving South Sudan mid-October despite prior reports of their staying put in Africa’s youngest nation.
Last week Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces said that they had no signal from their country to withdraw from South Sudan.
Uganda troops are to be replaced by the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF).
Despite earlier reports that Ugandan troops were not vacating their stronghold in South Sudan, latest OSINT summaries indicate that the troops will soon vacate the country. The timing will however be later than the IGD stipulated deadline.
This was a key rebel demand during drawn-out talks which led to a peace deal in August. All foreign forces were meant to have left by 10 October.
The agreement, which President Salva Kiir signed on August 26, gave all foreign armies and militia 45 days to withdraw.
Currently, Ugandan soldiers are stationed in three bases: The international airport in Juba; in Nesitu just south of the capital and at their biggest base in the town of Bor, which is hosting some 3,500 soldiers.
A neutral regional force, the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) is meant to step in once Uganda withdraws.
Analysts have little hope that withdrawal by Ugandan soldiers will have a major impact on the ongoing silent crisis in South Sudan.
Other rebel forces have threatened to take up arms citing failure by the government and senior opposition to show commitment to the signed peace deal.
Senior rebel leader Gen Johnson Oloni said he might resume fighting because of President Salva Kiir’s recent decree creating 18 new states. Gen Johnson is head of the Shilluk militia, which has been accused by the UN children’s agency Unicef of abducting hundreds of boys and forcing them to become child soldiers.