Parliament puts gov’t on notice amid UPDF encroachment

Oyet Nathaniel Pierino, the First Deputy Speaker of the Transitional
National Legislative Assembly/Courtesy photo

By Tereza Jeremiah Chuei

The First Deputy Speaker of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA), Oyet Nathaniel Pierino has blasted the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; and the Ministry of Interior, for their inadequate response on border encroachment by Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF).

In a couple of weeks ago, there were reports that UPDF have invaded parts of South Sudan as they clashed with South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) which left one death and others injured.

Hon. Oyet a lawmaker from Eastern Equatoria State on the SPLM-IO docket told No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper in an exclusive interview Tuesday that Uganda has launched a huge Agricultural project at the border areas of Magwi County {planting Sugar Cane}.

The lawmaker who is the First Deputy Speaker of the National Parliament poured his frustrations over the matter, that he has been receiving little attention from the government to the three aforementioned ministries. He said their lack of robust response to the invasion by Uganda has rendered the South Sudanese at the border vulnerable.

In addition, he said the SSPDF soldier who were killed while protecting the border territories seemed to have not alarmed the government.

“It comes as a shock that UPDF encroach into our {South Sudan} territories, in different areas, one is Budi County, Ikotos County, Magwi County, Kajo-Keji County and Morobo County and its unjustifiable,” he highlighted the encroached territories.

“Currently UPDF are about 6 km deep into the border of South Sudan, while there were high committees in the border that was formed to be addressing the issues in the borders of different countries, which include politician from different countries,” he added.

However, the honorable member revealed that there is a committee in the border, that’s made-up of South Sudanese Politicians and Ugandan Politicians, among others stakeholders, formed to address the border issues between the two East African nations, but nothing tangible is being seen from the committee.

He alleged that this committee has disagreed, adding that the team from Uganda wants border demarcation while South Sudan team wants verification of the border since the demarcation were done since independence by the United Nations Security Council.

“The Parliament is developing a motion to summon the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Defense and Minister of Interior to come and answer on what is their response to this matter of the Ugandan Government through the UPDF,” Oyet said.

He said Ugandan Authorities lack political will, alleging that they prefer grabbing that amicable settlement.

“The results are clear majorly that they have done more reinforcement in the borders they have settle in within South Sudan Territory. Furthering that they are harassing and intimidating the South Sudanese Citizens, ensuring that resident quit their areas,” Oyet stated.

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