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Friday, June 2, 2023

Col Paddy Ankunda: We Can’t Risk Revealing Number of Soldiers in South Sudan

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Col Paddy Ankunda has said it is risky to reveal the number of soldiers in South Sudan.

Speaking to the press on Thursday at Uganda Media Centre, Col Ankunda assured the public that the latest undertaking in South Sudan is moving on very successful.

“We successfully beat an ambush in Juba,” he said, adding, “We do not reveal causalities of our soldiers before we inform the next of kin or their families.”

This comes a day after President Museveni said Ugandan soldiers were killed and many injured during a heavy battle with the South Sudan rebels in Juba early this week.

“Only the other day, January 13, the SPLA and elements of our army had a big battle with the rebel troops about 90km from Juba where we inflicted a big defeat on them,” Museveni said.

However, Col Ankunda has refused to reveal the number of soldiers deployed in Juba saying it is risky.

“We will not take the risk of revealing the number of soldiers we have in South Sudan.”

Col Ankunda said there are four main basics of Uganda’s involvement in South Sudan, which is to ensure regional security, regional trade, to rescue Ugandans who are stuck in the town of Bor and because they are in agreement with the government of South Sudan.

Asked when the soldiers will be back, the UPDF spokesperson said “When the mission is done, we shall come back.”

He further justified why Uganda troops are in Juba saying President Salva Kiir requested President Museveni to send them.

“As you can see, President Kiir is frustrated to all the regional leaders that never responded to his request.”

Hon Rose Namayanja supplemented by saying it is not the first time that Uganda responded fast to such issues, “remember in Somalia we did the same.”

The Defence Ministry says up until yesterday (Wednesday), they were able to rescue and evacuate by road about 40,000 civilians.

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