By Our Reporter
Kampala” Although there is growing list of countries evacuating diplomats and citizens from Sudan’s capital Khartoum as fierce fighting continues to rage in the capital, Uganda’s efforts are slow according to Ugandans stranded.
One of the victims on condition that his not mentioned, lamented that much as they ran out of Khartoum, they are stranded in Ethiopian border with Sudan.
However, Government said today that it has located 208 out of the 271 Ugandans stranded in Sudan and plans to evacuate them are underway.
The Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja in her statement to Parliament today said that following a presidential directive, preparations have been made to evacuate Ugandans through the Sudanese border with Ethiopia.
“Government has hired six buses to accommodate all the Ugandans including diplomats, students, workers, those visiting, those who were in transit to Mecca to evacuate them through the Ethiopia route to the town of Gondar via the Gallabat border,” said Nabbanja.
She said that they had established that 120 people were working in Khartoum, 122 are students, 14 were in hospitals, 19 were in transit and six people were on a short visit.
Nabbanja added that six nationals who were said to be on their way back to Uganda who are being tracked to ensure their security.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in constant communication with three Ugandans who decided to use public road transport through South Sudan, two who used Port Sudan and one World Bank official who used the Ethiopian route,” she said.
The Premier revealed that government has sought support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Regional Service Centre (RSS) in Entebbe to support the evacuation plans.
Parliament also learned that internal clearances for Ugandans at the border between Sudan and Ethiopia are ongoing.
Members of Parliament hailed government’s responsiveness to save its citizens from the war that according to the Premier’s statement has claimed 420 lives and left 3,700 wounded.
“I want to appreciate government for this noble cause; the Foreign Affairs Ministry should learn from this and sensitize Ugandans when leaving the country, to register with our foreign embassies such that in such cases, they can be helped,” said Ms Susan Amero (Indep., Amuria District).
Kasilo County MP, Mr. Elijah Okupa asked the Premier whether there were efforts to establish the presence of Ugandans in the regions under the command of one of the factions of the army known as Rapid Support Force (RSF).
A section of Opposition MPs warned that a similar war could break out in Uganda if government does not crack a whip on uniformed soldiers involved in human rights violation and those who disregard the law.
“As we know the RSF was created by the former President Bashir, they slaughtered people in Darfur and it was a matter of time that they would turn to their own. As long as we have people who murdered people in Kasese around…as a nation we should be on alert,” the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Mathias Mpuuga said.
Kiira Municipality Member of Parliament, Mr. Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda asked government to not only focus on the evacuation plans but consider discussions on how to avoid a similar war.
“If this is not done, Uganda is a few years away from falling into what is happening in Sudan,” said Ssemujju.
Dokolo District Woman MP, Ms Cecilia Ogwal asked if government was planning to support the efforts to end the war in Sudan saying, ‘when a neighbouring country suffers, we should be concerned. What Uganda did about the war in Somalia is commendable.’
The fighting in Sudan started on 15 April as a result of a power struggle within the within the country’s military leadership.
The clashes are between the regular army and a paramilitary force called the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).