World Bulletin / News Desk
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni admitted on Wednesday that the Ugandan People's Defense Forces (UPDF) had engaged in combat in South Sudan, fighting along President Salva Kiir's troops.
"Only the other day, January 13th, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and elements of our army had a big battle with these rebel troops at a point about 90kms from Juba where we inflicted a big defeat on them," Museveni told the one-day international conference of the Great Lakes Region in Luanda, Angola.
"Unfortunately, many lives were lost on the side of the rebels. We also took casualties and also had some dead."
The remarks bring an end to questions and doubt over whether the UPDF had been engaged in combat in the ongoing South Sudan conflict.
"By yesterday evening, the government of South Sudan, with the support from the UPDF troops, had regained control of Jemeza."
South Sudan has been shaken by violence since mid-December, when Kiir accused vice president Riek Machar of standing behind a failed coup attempt against his regime.
The UN estimates that at least 1,000 people have been killed and nearly 230,000 displaced by the conflict.
Uganda deployed troops on December 24 to help evacuate Ugandan nationals from the war-ravaged country.
The troops were later asked to secure the Juba airport and other vital strategic installations so as to enable the evacuation of Ugandans and other nationals.
But ever since the fighting broke, the UPDF had denied reports of involvement in active combat.
IGAD chief negotiator says "preconditions" hamper talks
Former Ethiopian foreign minister Seyoum Mesfin, currently leading mediation efforts sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) aimed at ending the ongoing South Sudan conflict, has blamed what he described as "preconditions" set by rivals for obstructing talks to resolve the crisis in the nascent country.
Mesfin told the Ethiopian television on Wednesday that preconditions set by representatives of President Salva Kiir and sacked vice president Riek Machar hamper the IGAD-sponsored talks in Addis Ababa.
He said that while Machar's representatives demand the release of political detainees, Kiir's delegation insists that the detainees will be released in the course of a process of law.
Seyoum, however, voiced hope that negotiating parties would return to the roundtable shortly to reach a peaceful solution to the South Sudanese crisis.Last Mod: 16 Ocak 2014, 10:18