Uncertainty Reigns over UPDF Numbers in South Sudan Top story

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In short
South Sudan media has reported an increase of Uganda troop's presence in Juba and Bor where the UPDF is currently deployed. According to a report carried by Sudan Tribune, a local press service in South Sudan; the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces had increased their presence to 7000 troops from the original 3000 that had been earlier deployed.

A fresh wave of developments has cast into doubt the size of the Ugandan contingent in south Sudan which critics  say has more than doubled in the recent past.
 
South Sudan media has reported an increase of Uganda troop's presence in Juba and Bor where the UPDF is currently deployed. According to a report carried by Sudan Tribune, a local press service in South Sudan; the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces had increased their presence to 7000 troops from the original 3000 that had been earlier deployed.
 
The latest deployment was reported just days after the two countries renewed a military agreement that allows Ugandan troops to extend their military presence in South Sudan for another four months. The agreement was signed in Kampala last week by Defence Minister Dr Crispus Kiyonga and Gen Eng. Koul Manyang Juuk, his South Sudan counterpart.
 
In a separate phone interview with URN, SPLM - IO spokesperson Garang De Mabior also fronted the allegation that the UPDF had increased troop presence in Juba and Bor to fight the rebels. Garang added that the UPDF had also purchased on behalf of the SPLM 50 fighter tanks as they ready for a prolonged military campaign in the coming months.
 
According to the rebel faction, Uganda has deployed more than 16,000 troops since the conflict erupted in mid-December 2013.
 
But UPDF spokesperson Paddy Ankunda has dismissed the allegations saying the UPDF has no reason for increasing their presence in South Sudan. Ankunda says the force is in south Sudan to protect key government installations and that does not require a ‘heavy number' of troops.
 
Ankunda added that the UPDF has only recently renewed the status of forces agreement with South Sudan and is banking on the peace process to succeed.
 
In a past agreement, the UPDF did not clarify the number of soldiers that they would deploy to south Sudan but in subsequent interviews, the contingent commander Brig. Kayanja Muhanga revealed that the UPDF had 3000 troops.  

 

About the author

Raymond Mujuni
Raymond Mujuni is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Mujuni has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Presently a Law student at Makerere University, Kampala, Mujuni started out as a freelancer for URN in 2012.

Mujuni is an investigative journalist, especially interested in Security, Science and Technology. An avid sports fan, Mujuni volunteers with the charity organisation 40 Days/40 Smiles.