30 Lamwo Youth Recruited Into South Sudan Fighting

2123 Views Lamwo, Uganda

In short
At least 30 Ugandan youth have been recruited into fighting in South Sudan from Lamwo district in northern Uganda.

At least 30 Ugandan youth have been recruited into fighting in South Sudan from Lamwo district in northern Uganda. 

The Lamwo district security committee says the youth were recruited by an armed group it refused to name between January and June 2016. It says the youth were convinced to join with offers of cash prizes of Uganda shillings 1.5 million as starting salaries.

Jonathan Rutabingwa, the chairperson of Lamwo district security committee, says they learned too late that the youth joined pockets of opposition fighters who were training across the border.

Rutabingwa describes the youth as disgruntled and unruly elements within communities in the district. 

Komakech John Ogwok, the Lamwo district chairperson says there are very reliable intelligence reports confirming the recruitment of the youth into fighting in South Sudan.

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Lamwo district has six porous border crossing points into South Sudan including Madi Opei, Ngom Oromo, Aweno Olwiyo amongst others. Rutabingwa says it is practically impossible to watch the fluid jungles of the border with watertight precision to prevent such illegal recruitment.

He says efforts are underway to dissuade those who have already joined the war in the world's youngest nation to abandon the conflict. The committee fears the recruitment of the youth might increase gun proliferation across the porous Uganda - South Sudan border. 

Rutabingwa says the recruitment of the youth should not cause panic as a strong contingent of battle ready troops of Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) is stationed at Ngom Oromo crossing point. He says they are watching the conflict and heavily prepared to repel any external aggression from South Sudan.
Up to 1.6 million people have been displaced in the latest fighting that broke out in Juba between rival forces - the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and the SPLA in Opposition backing First Vice-President Riek Macha.


About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.