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UPDF kills Kajo-Keji woman in border invasion protest

By Bida Elly David

Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) has reportedly killed a woman and injured four other men in Bamurye Boma of Kajo-Keji County, Central Equatoria State of South Sudan.

Kajo-Keji area MPs revealed on Thursday, 11th May 2023, in a press conference, that the UPDF on Sunday crossed into South Sudan and fired at peaceful protestors killing Mary Kiden Tenge and took three men to their barracks.

The fatal incident occurred following a cross-border encounter after Ugandan nationals illegally encroached and settled deep into South Sudan.

South Sudan-Uganda border security situation particularly in Kajo-Keji county’s, Bamurye boma is said to be fluid as several houses were torched and the UPDF reportedly establish military detach at the area in response to the matter.

The border dispute that started last week, till culminating to its climax with bloodshed.

Kajo-Keji county members of parliament at the Central Equatoria state transitional legislative assembly have raised an alarm to the state and national government over the international boundary, demanding immediate security beef-up.

A notorious and troublesome Ugandan national, known as Wajaras Khamis, is believed to be behind the tragedy that transpired. He is accused of mobilizing a group of youth from neighbouring districts of Moyo and Yumbe to invade Bamurye Boma in Kajo-Keji County, South Sudan, triggering a scuffle.

Breaching of territorial integrity of South Sudanese in Kajo-Keji County has been a repeated tendency by Ugandans from the neighbouring districts.

“Unpredictability, the Ugandans, in search of exploiting our natural resources, they by default extend their territory deep into South Sudan” the area MPs noted, while requesting the State and National government to focus attention on the matter priority.

The accused land invaders reportedly hoisted their Ugandan flag in Koiba village of Bamurye Boma, an SPLA historical area of “Operation Thunder Bolt” (OTB) Training Centre, in Kajo-Keji County.

The border encroachers reportedly settled and started engaging in series of activities including logging and selling of land.

“The latest incursion orchestrated Wajaras Khemis has led to the burning of houses of the locals in Bamurye Boma, cutting and hospitalization of (4) South Sudanese men with machetes and pangas,” they said.

The brutal Ugandans resorted to burning houses of South Sudanese from Kajo-Keji residing at Gwere in Moyo (Uganda) and looted 120 heads of cattle.  They also looted another 108 cows from Bamurye Boma.

The lawmakers noted that the act unlawful act by the Ugandans provoked the youth from Kajo-Keji to burning down houses around OTB and Abaya villages in protest following continuous clashes since 2014.

“We are concerned and troubled with the repeated incursions into our territory by Ugandans from the neighbouring Districts of Moyo and Yumbe” the MPs protested.

These events forced the commissioner of Kajo-Keji to County to visit the area on diplomacy and advised the Ugandan to peacefully leave the area they intended to occupy.

According to the locals, the Ugandans are motivated to encroachment South Sudan for illicit logging, charcoal burning and mining of minerals, in the area. Power-saws, hired by Mr. Wajaras Khemis for logging have been confiscated as evidence.

The lawmakers condemned the act and called for the release of the deceased body as well as return of the abducted persons by the UPDF with immediate effect.

The also demand releases of the looted cattle in Gwere-Lefori, dialogue between the Central Equatoria State CES authorities and Uganda for harmony.

“We condemn the incursion, killing, abduction of civilians, burning of houses and looting resources. We Demand the release of the body of the deceased woman and the return of the abducted persons under UPDF detention” the MPs stressed.

However, the legislators also urged the State government to strengthen border security by deploying forces at the hot contested areas to avoid further incursions and violence among the communities.

They called upon humanitarian agencies to intervene to help the people whose houses have been burnt and registered earnest sympathies to the deceased family and the families of those injured.

Efforts to get comments from Ugandan Authorities were fruitless by press time.

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