February 13, 2014 [Kampala] — Uganda says it will consider a gradual pull out of troops from South Sudan after the United States, Norway and Ethiopia publicly requested the East African country withdraw its soldiers.
The permanent secretary in Uganda’s Foreign ministry, James Mugume said Uganda is considering a progressive pull out from South Sudan to let the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) take charge.
He said since the situation in South Sudan had stabilized, the Ugandan military could work under the auspices of IGAD and the newly set up African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC).
“We will leave in stages. Some of our friends are saying that we should not leave a gap as IGAD prepares to come with a regional force,” Mugume said in an interview.
Eritrea suspended relations with IGAD in 2007 after Somalia and Ethiopia accused Asmara of undermining the Somalia’s interim government by supporting insurgents in Mogadishu.
The east African bloc is currently made up of six countries including Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia.
US Secretary of State, John Kerry and President Barack Obama’s new top diplomat for Africa, Linda Thomas-Greenfield demanded Uganda’s army leave South Sudan.
“We feel deeply committed, given past lessons, to try to prevent the chaos and genocide that too often comes out of violence that can occur if things break down,” Kerry said.
IGAD chairman, Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn has insisted Uganda pulls out of South Sudan.
Uganda has insisted it was invited to South Sudan by the ruling government of Salva Kiir and that the situation would have worsened had it not responded immediately.
At least 1,000 people died in South Sudan in clashes between government troops and rebels last December