Uganda releases 15 suspected South Sudanese bandits

Hentet fra  The Independent|, January 6th 2021

Kitgum, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | Security personnel in Kitgum have released 15 suspected armed South Sudanese bandits. 

The suspects were arrested on separate occasions between October and December last year by Uganda People’s Defence Forces-UPDF soldiers over illegal entry and possession of firearms along with the border districts of Lamwo and Kitgum. 

Two of the suspects were arrested from Palabek Ogili sub-county in Lamwo district armed with two guns and grenades while 13 were apprehended in Orom Sub County, Kitgum district armed with five guns.

After two months and two weeks in detention in Uganda, the suspects were handed over to South Sudan authorities on Tuesday during a bilateral security meeting between Uganda and South Sudan leaders at Orom sub-county headquarters.

Kitgum Resident District Commissioner William Komakech who led the Ugandan delegation says the handover of the suspects is a good gesture towards restoring trust and working relationship between Uganda and South Sudan.

Komakech says the handover exercise will also mark a milestone in ensuring that the communities living along the common international borders peacefully co-exist after several incidents of attacks.

Komakech, however, called on his counterparts to liaise with Uganda in strengthening security along with the common border. 

The 5th Infantry Division commander Brig. William Bainomugisha says the continued gun proliferation from South Sudan into Uganda is due to the presence of guns in the hands of the locals. 

Brig Bainomugisha says unlike Uganda that has made strides in disarming the Karamojong cattle rustlers, the South Sudan Government hadn’t attained such success and called for their renewed commitments to ensure the locals are disarmed.

Auxilio Odum, the Deputy Secretary-General of Eastern Equatorial State who led South Sudan delegation lauded the release of their nationals without any harm.

He says South Sudan is currently focusing on peace building adding that the leaders are continuously focused on dialogue to attain the goal with the neighbouring states. 

Odum has assured the Ugandan leaders and victims of the cross border insecurity that the culprits will face the laws for their crimes. 

Alphonse Muras, the area Member of Parliament for Constituency 22 in Eastern Equatorial state blamed the influx of South Sudan armed into Uganda on the armed conflicts in Africa’s youngest nation.

The porous boundary between Ugandan and volatile South Sudan has over the years seen an increased influx of armed men from South Sudan into the border districts of Lamwo and Kitgum. This has resulted in increased cases of livestock and crop theft by the gunmen.