National, News

UPDF presence in Kajo-Keji irks community

By Bida Elly David

Nyaingamuda village residents in Bori Boma, Central Equatoria State have raised concerns about Ugandan People Defense Forces’ deployment inside South Sudan.

Youth coordinator in Bori Boma who spoke on condition of anonymity to this outlet said the presence of UPDF and youth have camped at Lowili stream in Nyaingamuda village, Kajo-Keji County.

“The youth are currently stationed there together with their army. They are also erecting tents. There are also other two locations where the UPDF are scattered” the source told this outlet.

According to the source, the Ugandan soldiers and the youth are scattered all over Lomujing East and Meruwa West of Nyainagamuda villages.

He claimed that the UPDF is distributing guns to Ugandan civil youth along the border, causing fear among the local population.

However, the source said, there is attack so far but noted that the youth on South Sudan border side are on alert in case of any uncertainty that might arise.

“We also noticed that there are some guns that have been distributed to their civil population in those three locations yesterday. They evacuated the families of people living in those areas only youth are left,” the source revealed

Meanwhile, Kajo-Keji County commissioner, Phanuel Dumo confirmed the UPDF deployment in the area.

He said the deployment followed arrest of 13 Ugandan youth by South Sudan youth after detention of a Kajo-Keji local chief by security in Yumbe district.

“On the 8th, our youth arrested some 7 Ugandans inside our territory. On the 9th six of them were again arrested. I was made to understand and said let them not beat them. I brought them and put them in the police for safety and provided food” said the commissioner.

Dumo underscored that the arrest of the 6 Ugandan youths transpired after they are spotted carrying charcoals in a raksha (tricycle) by the Kajo-Keji youth inside South Sudan territory.

He added that the arrest of the Kajo-Keji chief over claims of selling Ugandan land to individuals and the arrest of the 13 Ugandans fueled further disagreement where the two governments resolved to meet.

“We resolved that the two communities of Yumbe and Kajo-Keji should meet in Lowili. On the 22nd we went but found that the Ugandans have changed the venue abruptly without our notice,” Commissioner Dumo disclosed.

He noted that the deployment of the UPDF soldiers into the Country’s territory was a political game for the illegal exploitation of natural resources by Ugandan government.

The Commissioner further said Uganda, and South Sudan border disputes have gone beyond his authority following the cross-border community disputes.

He suggested the need for intervention of the national governments of the two countries.

“This has now become difficult for a political will. The SSPDF and the UPDF committees have to sit down and sort out their difference particularly the recent deployment of the UPDF in the territory,” Dumo stated.

“If that thing is not resolved and make the environment conducive then the holding of the second meeting will be very difficult because the venue of the second meeting is where the deployment is taking place,” he added.

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