By Ahura Mujuni Mark
An unspecified number of Uganda People’s Defence Force soldiers have reportedly been killed in the ongoing fighting in South Sudan between government forces and rebels led by former Vice President Riek Machar.
President Yoweri Museveni told regional leaders at the International Conference on the great Lakes Region in Luanda, Angola on Wednesday that though the UPDF have had successful battles against Machar’s rebels, some of them have been injured and others have died .Museveni did not reveal the number of those who have been killed.
“Only the other day, January 13, the SPLA and elements of our army had a big battle with the rebel troops about 90km from Juba where we inflicted a big defeat on them .Unfortunately, many lives were lost on the side of the rebels. We also took casualties and had some dead,” He said
UPDF spokesperson, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda was quoted as saying that details about the death of UPDF soldiers in the world’s youngest nation are still scanty at the moment.
The reports have however caused uproar among several opposition leaders .Embattled Mayor Erias Lukwago says President Museveni should be voted out of power for subjecting the government’s forces to fighting and death in another country.
The army has on several occasions denied any involvement in any combat operations in South Sudan.The MPs recently passed a motion to have the UPDF soldiers deployed in South Sudan on grounds of evacuating stranded Ugandans and vital peace concerns but not engaging in combat for either of fighting parties.