UPDF Takes on South Sudan Militiamen in Lamwo

1682 Views Lamwo, Uganda

In short
The South Sudanese soldiers are occupying an area lying 11 kilometres from Madi Opei and over eight kilometres at Ngomoromo in Lokung Sub County. The two areas border Geria and Magwi Counties in Torit State, Eastern Equatorial Province of South Sudan.

The Uganda People's Defense Forces - UPDF has resolved to repulse armed South Sudanese militiamen who have encroached on Ugandan territory at Ngomoromo, the border area with South Sudan.

The South Sudanese soldiers are occupying an area lying 11 kilometres from Madi Opei and over eight kilometres at Ngomoromo in Lokung Sub County. The two areas border Geria and Magwi Counties in Torit State, Eastern Equatorial Province of South Sudan.

Towards the end of last year, the South Sudanese soldiers established a barrier six kilometres into Ugandan territory and hoisted their national flag in the contested area. Area leaders say that the act, tantamount to provocation resulting into tensions among the warring groups. Lamwo Residents have also accused the south Sudan militiamen of waylaying and molesting them before looting their food stuff.

Brig. Paul Lokech, the former two-time contingent Commander of the UPDF serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia said that the army leadership has already discussed the matter and resolved to end the threats orchestrated by armed South Sudanese at the disputed border area.

Brig Lokech made the announcement while addressing leaders from Lamwo district on the ongoing Tarehe Sita activities, celebrated every February 6, in commemoration of the day in 1981, when the then rebels of the National Resistance Army (NRA) launched their maiden attack against the Milton Obote regime.
 
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Lamwo district Member of Parliament Molly Lanyero lauded the move arguing that the group at the border is supported by the opposition teams in south Sudan to destabilize the country. She says such forces need to be dealt with immediately.
 
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Lamwo district Chairperson John Komakech Ogwok says that the UPDF response is long overdue. Ogwok reveals that South Sudanese authorities have remained adamant despite several dialogues about the presence of their personnel at the border.
 
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In August 2015, at least 200 armed South Sudanese militias from Magwi County encroached nine kilometers into Ugandan territory still in Lokung sub-county in Lamwo district, claiming that the border area is part of South Sudan territory. They were however flushed out by UPDF.

In December the same year, more than 300 armed SPLA soldiers confronted Chongqing International Construction Corporation (CICO) workers and forced them to stop work on the 87.4 kilometer Acholibur-Musingo road stretch, saying the contractor had crossed into South Sudan by seven kilometers.

Uganda and South Sudan signed a memorandum of understanding to ease border tension and allow the demarcation of the disputed approximately 470 kilometers long boundary. The African Union gave both countries a deadline to resolve their boundary issues by 2017 but little progress has been made.