Uganda calls for deployment of regional force in S. Sudan

KAMPALA. — Uganda on Tuesday urged the region to effect its earlier commitment of deploying troops in South Sudan where fighting has left thousands of people dead and about 1. 9 million people homeless. Asuman Kiyingi, Uganda’s state minister for regional affairs told reporters here that it is unfortunate that the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member countries have not yet constituted and deployed a regional force since they took the decision a year ago.

IGAD approved the deployment of at least 5,000 troops in January 2014 but the troops have yet to arrive in the conflict- torn country because of logistical challenges and different circumstances in the countries. “We agreed that IGAD constitute a force that will take charge, but unfortunately, the force has not been constituted for one reason or the other,” said Kiyingi.

“The force has not been constituted because of different circumstances in different countries. We hope IGAD will put its acts together, have the force constituted and put on the ground,” he said.

Kiyingi said Uganda will not pull its troops out of South Sudan until a regional intervention force is deployed to stabilize the country. Uganda deployed its troops late December 2013 after fighting broke out between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar.

“We have always made it clear that, we would love to leave South Sudan as soon as the condition is conducive for us to leave. However, we can’t leave until the IGAD force is constituted and deployed,” the minister said. “We can’t just leave like that without the troops on the ground. It will create a vacuum,” he added. – Xinhua