By Nkonge I Kaggwa
The people of South Sudan sighed with relief yesterday (Wednesday) as the first batch of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) started withdrawing from their base in Juba to Nimule this week.
Over 12 trucks were seen leaving Juba carrying about 250 of the 4000 soldiers who had been deployed in different parts of Juba, the South Sudanese capital to protect South Sudan President Salvatore Kiir’s government. “We are happy they have started getting out of the country. They were not doing so much to offer any peace solution to us yet they were earning a lot of money between US$700 to US$1000 from our tax payers,” an eyewitness told The London Evening Post (The LEP). “They were fed very well, eating beef and not missing any meals, unlike our soldiers here. In fact there was a great difference between our soldiers and these soldiers,” he added.
UPDF’s withdrawal comes as part of the implementation process of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) peace deal brokered by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegne. According to the agreement signed on 25th August, 2015, implementation of the pact is expected to be executed within 90 days. Among other terms agreed on was to reinstate the leader of Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) Dr Riek Machar as Vice President, hence a coalition government that would pave way for general elections.