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Ugandan army extends operations in war torn South Sudan

Four Ugandans jailed for Belgian tourist murder/AFP

Ugandan army extends operations in war torn South Sudan/AFP

KAMPALA, Feb 4- Ugandan soldiers backing embattled South Sudan’s government have extended their operations in the war-torn country until a final peace deal is agreed, defence ministers said in a statement Wednesday.

Rival leaders in South Sudan signed a seventh ceasefire deal on Sunday, although fighting has continued.

Ugandan Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga and his counterpart from South Sudan, Koul Manyang, agreed to extend Kampala’s military support by four more months until at least mid June.

The extensions was agreed “in order to give chance for the stabilisation process” of the latest deal, a statement said.

Fighting erupted in South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused ousted deputy Riek Machar of attempting a coup.

It quickly spread from the capital Juba, triggering a cycle of retaliatory massacres across the country.

Days after conflict broke out Ugandan troops rushed to support Kiir, and they have borne the brunt of some of the heaviest fighting.

Rebel forces have repeatedly objected to Uganda taking part in both the conflict and as key mediator of slow moving peace talks.

More than two dozen armed forces — from ragtag militia, to rebels from neighbouring Sudan’s Darfur region, to the Ugandan troops backing Kiir — are all now fighting.

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon this week accused the leaders of putting their own interests above those of their people, after they agreed another ceasefire on Sunday but failed to reach a power-sharing deal.

Kiir and Machar have been set a March 5 deadline to strike a final full peace agreement, but similar previous deadlines have been repeatedly ignored.

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