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Air Uganda to resume South Sudan flights despite uncertainty in Juba

By Ronald Musoke

Air Uganda will resume its flight to Juba on Dec.18 despite continued political uncertainty that has engulfed the world’s newest nation.

The airline which plies the Entebbe-Juba route daily had temporarily suspended all its flights to the South Sudanese capital on Dec. 16 following what the South Sudanese president Salva Kiir referred to as an attempted coup.

Jennifer Musiime, Air Uganda’s Chief Marketing Officer, told The Independent that the head of national security in charge of airports in South Sudan had cleared the airline to resume its flights.

“We have been cleared to resume our flights to Juba because the airport has been secured,” Musiime said.

However, Bloomberg reported on Dec. 17 that at least 40 people have so far been killed and 130 wounded in violence sparked by what regional security experts are describing as a power struggle between Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar.

Kiir fired Machar in July along with the entire cabinet after the former deputy said he would contest the 2015 presidential elections.

“These people are criminals,” Kiir said, in the Dec.16 address to the nation arranged to reassure the citizens.

“This is not the first time they attempted a coup. We don’t want a country of lawlessness.”

The renewed gunfire heard in the capital today followed Kiir’s address on state television on Dec. 16 saying the government was in control.

About 13,000 people have taken refuge at two United Nations military bases near Juba, Toby Lanzer, the UN deputy special representative to South Sudan, reported on Dec. 17 on his Twitter account.

Several governments, including Uganda, the U.S. and the U.K. have warned their citizens in Juba to be careful amid reports of continuing fighting.

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