South Sudan Army Says Ugandan Troops to Leave by Mid-October

  • Departure of neighboring Uganda's forces part of peace deal
  • Clashes with rebels left 62 people dead this week, army says

Uganda is preparing to withdraw troops from South Sudan by mid-October, South Sudan’s army said, almost two years after the neighboring nation intervened to back President Salva Kiir’s government during a civil war.

South Sudanese authorities are committed to a peace agreement Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar signed last month and "Uganda troops will be on Uganda soil" by Oct. 20, army spokesman Philip Aguer said Tuesday by phone from the capital, Juba. His Ugandan counterpart, Paddy Ankunda, wasn’t immediately able to comment.

The planned withdrawal may be hampered by last week’s failure of rebel and government representatives to agree on security arrangements for a proposed 30-month transitional period, South Sudanese Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said by phone. Unless insurgents and the government reach an accord on security "there will be no time-line agreed for the withdrawal of the foreign troops," he said.

War in oil-producing Sudan Sudan has left tens of thousands of people dead and forced about 2 million to flee their homes since it began in December 2013. Violence has continued even after a series of cease-fire agreements.

Aguer accused insurgents of breaching the latest cease-fire with attacks in the country’s north over the past two days in which he said 50 rebel troops and 12 government soldiers were killed. The army repelled the assaults and captured weapons, he said. Rebel spokesman William Gatjiath Deng’s Ethiopian mobile phone was switched off when Bloomberg called seeking comment.

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