KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Ugandan troops have started withdrawing from South Sudan to comply with a peace deal between South Sudan's warring factions, Uganda's military chief said Monday.
All Ugandan forces — between 2,000 and 3,000 — will have withdrawn from South Sudan by the first week of November, Gen. Katumba Wamala told reporters in Uganda's capital, Kampala.
Ugandan troops, deployed at the request of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, prevented the rebels from taking South Sudan's capital, Juba, in December 2013, he said, adding that there was a risk of genocide when the Ugandans deployed.
South Sudanese government forces, possibly with the help of U.N. troops, are expected to keep the peace, he said.
"We think they have upped up their business by now," he said, referring to South Sudanese security forces. "We think things will hold."
South Sudan erupted into violence in mid-December 2013 when some security forces in Juba appeared to splinter along ethnic lines, plunging the world's newest country into civil unrest.
Kiir belongs to the Dinka ethnic group while rebel leader Riek Machar, who had been fired in July 2013 as Kiir's deputy, is an ethnic Nuer.
Machar is expected to return to South Sudan as Kiir's deputy under the terms of the peace pact signed in August, although both sides have repeatedly violated that agreement.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed by South Sudan's conflict and 2 million have been displaced, according to the U.N.