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Iran Press TV

Uganda not to contribute troops to regional force in South Sudan

Iran Press TV

Fri Aug 12, 2016 5:4PM

Uganda says it will not contribute troops to a regional protection force formed to enforce the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

"Not deploying in South Sudan was voluntary," Ugandan Foreign Minister Henry Okello said Friday.

The government in Kampala, a main ally of South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, said the refusal to send troops was aimed at acquitting Uganda of accusations of interfering in the internal affairs of another country.

"We choose for Uganda not to be part of the deployment so that (those) who accuse the UPDF (Ugandan army) of meddling in the internal affairs of South Sudan have no opportunity to accuse us," the Ugandan foreign minister stated.

The UN Security Council is slated to vote on Washington's proposal to send 4,000 African troops to South Sudan. The vote was scheduled for 1400 GMT, but diplomats said it may be postponed to allow for more talks.

The contingent of 4,000 African troops will possibly also have forces from Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

The UN mission has been criticized for failure to contain violence in South Sudan.

Washington's proposal, which has already been rejected by Juba, also calls for a vote on an arms embargo on South Sudan if its government blocks the regional force.

Okello, however, said Uganda was ready to provide South Sudan with logistical or communications support.

UN refugee agency announcement

Earlier, the UN refugee agency said nearly 110,000 South Sudanese, most of them women and children, had sought refuge in Uganda this year. The agency said 82,000 of the people have fled the recent wave of fighting in the country.

South Sudan has witnessed a new wave of conflict since July 8, when gunfire erupted near the state house in Juba, where President Kiir and then Vice President Riek Machar were meeting for talks. More than 300 people have been killed in the clashes.

The South Sudanese refugees who fled to Uganda have been subjected to robberies and sexual assaults, the UN refugee agency said. "Armed groups are also reportedly abducting children aged 12 and above from schools and threatening people."

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