Ugandan military convoy crosses into S Sudan to evacuate citizens
July 15, Juba: Sudanese officials have said a heavily armed Ugandan military convoy has crossed into South Sudan to evacuate citizens trapped by recent fighting in the capital, Juba.
The operation comes a day after the United Nations warned of the possibility of fresh fighting in Juba, despite a two-day ceasefire that followed a major outbreak of violence, in which almost 300 people were killed, officials said.
According to reports the Ugandan army convoy of around 50 lorries escorted by machine-gun-mounted armoured vehicles crossed the border on Thursday at Nimule, some 200km from Juba, to open up a secure corridor for fleeing civilians.
"We plan to go to Juba to extract 3,000 Ugandans stranded by fighting, but that number may grow as we will evacuate anyone who wants to leave of any nationality," said army chief Brigadier Leopold Kyanda to the AFP news agency.
"There may even be some South Sudanese who want to leave."
Kyanda said that the mission would probably last "two to three days".
Al Jazeera reporting from Uganda's capital, Kampala, quoted Ugandan military as saying there are about 3,000 Ugandan civilians in Juba, so many of those empty lorries deployed were to "bring back their civilians home".
The Oslo Times International News Network