SOUTH SUDAN: UGANDAN TRADERS RETURN TO JUBA AS CALM PREVAILS

JUBA, -- Ugandan traders who fled fighting in South Sudan are going back to Juba after normalcy returned to the Africa's youngest nation's capital.

They have re-opened their shops in Konyokonyo and Gumbo markets, which had closed when the fighting broke out between forces loyal to President Salvar Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar in July.

Tom Mujasi, a grocer in Konyokonyo market said that many Ugandans started going back to Juba starting early this month. "We had come back because the fighting ended. Business is slow but slowly picking up," he said.

Traders say ambushes along Juba-Nimule road have reduced after government deployed more troops on the road which is the main supply route to Juba. Militias allied to Dr Machar were ambushing Ugandans travelling to and from Uganda especially around Magui.

The Ugandan ambassador in South Sudan, Maj Gen Robert Rusoke told a team of Ugandan and Kenyan journalists on Friday that Juba is now calm and the security situation is improving.

"It's calm. We see normalcy and the government is seen to be working to bring the peace agreement on course. Of course with support from the region and the international community," he said.

Gen Rusoke also said negotiations between Uganda and South Sudan governments are ongoing to pay at least $50m Ugandan businessmen owe the Juba government before fighting first broke out in December 2013.

Diplomatic efforts to bring hostilities pushed by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, African Union and United Nations continue with the arbiters pushing for deployment of a regional protection force.

"IGAD, African Union and the UN Security Council are still engaging the warring parties. They have recently returned from New York for a meeting," Gen Rusoke said.

At least 300 soldiers, most of them loyal to Dr Machar were killed at the Presidential Pace before skirmishes spread to the outskirts of the Capital.

Dr Machar, who fled Juba and now in Khartoum, has declared war on the government of South Sudan but Gen Rusoke said war will not end the hostilities differences in South Sudan.

"War will not resolve the conflict in South Sudan. That's why we encourage Riek Machar to come for talks, not fighting," he said.

Source: Nam News Network

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