The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has handed over 13 civilians of South Sudan who were captured on December 18, 2020 as they illegally crossed into Uganda with illegal arms.
A South Sudan delegation headed by Hon Auxilio Odum, the Deputy Secretary General of Eastern State also received 2 South Sudan soldiers who were captured with 2 sub machine guns and one grenade at Waligo border post on October 27, 2020.
The suspects, all residents of Ikoto county in South Sudan’s East Equational State and of Acholi tribe were captured by UPDF soldiers following a tip off from the local area councillor of Luchom village, Orom east sub county as they reportedly tried to steal crops and animals.
They were handed over to South Sudanese security officials during an emergency bilateral security meeting convened between UPDF and South Sudan.
During the meeting, the 5th Division commander, Brig William Bainomugisha welcomed the South Sudan delegation and applauded them for their quick response into the matter.
He reminded the team of the UPDF mandate by affirming to them that UPDF shall never shy away from protecting the lives of Ugandan citizens and their property along it’s borderlines.
He appealed to President Salva Kiir’s Government to engage their community in dialogue and civic education so that they can learn to respect the laws governing another country’s borderline, theft to include any form of illegal arms proliferations.
Brig Bainomugisha cautioned the leaders that UPDF shall not hesitate to cause arrest of any illegal entrant into Ugandan territory.
“Any form of non compliance will force our military to use force to apprehend an officer,” he said.
Kitgum district Resident District Commissioner (RDC), william Komakech while addressing the meeting thanked the UPDF for the professionalism they exhibited during the operation to arrest the intruders.
“The role of military in Uganda is not to kill it’s opponents but to preserve lives. It is how they manage to spare the lives of youths who were armed. I urge the Government of South Sudan to disarm it’s citizens holding illegal guns so that violence and criminal acts can be stopped. We are not giving back the guns we seized from the suspects,” he said.
The weapons captured include MK5 rifles, MK4 rifle, SMGs, assorted rounds of ammunitions and hand grenades.
The weapons are to taken to a ballistic expert for further investigations.
The area Member of Parliament, Hon Alphonse Murasi Chacha of constituency 22 of Torit State during the meeting regretted the incident and condemned that act of the youths and the soldiers for entering Uganda illegally without any formal permission.
“Now that we have them in our hands, investigations will kickstart immediately and then they will be taken to face courts of law.”
“Bear with South Sudan. The country is still at war but as soon as we settle our internal conflicts, we shall establish local governments in each State and sub counties to monitor and solve all borderline challenges affecting the country,” said Alphonse.