As UPDF pulls out of South Sudan, Ugandan businessmen and women express their fears

UPDF chief Gen Wamala Katumba addresses Ugandan troops in South Sudan recently.
UPDF chief Gen Wamala Katumba addresses Ugandan troops in South Sudan recently. He has warned South Sudan not to expect the UPDF back if things go wrong again.

By Ruth Namatovu in Kampala, Uganda

The Ugandan business fraternity operating in South Sudan have expressed fear for their lives and businesses after the Ugandan People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) started pulling out the war-ravaged South Sudan on Monday this week.

Robert Sembatya, one of the Ugandan businessmen operating out of Juba, the South Sudan capital told The London Evening Post their businesses had depended on the security they had from the presence of the Ugandan security forces. “These Sudanese can be inhuman sometimes because they don’t regard any other person as a human being. If it were not for the UPDF, may be we wouldn’t be doing business here,” he said. He added: “All is well for now but we don’t know what will happen when the last battalion leaves South Sudan.”

However, Issa Sekitto, the spokesperson for the Kampala City Traders Association –CASITA, told The London Evening Post that they expect the traders to do business as usual despite the pullout. “I don’t think this withdrawal will affect our businessmen in South Sudan despite the fact that the Sudanese harassed Ugandans in the early days as war broke out between Salva Kiir (the South Sudan president) and (his Vice president turned rebel) Riek Machar,” Sekitto said. He added that by now, they must have sobered up and understood that all human beings are the same.

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