In Eastern Equatoria, the Ugandan army encroaches on South Sudan land.
Residents of Pogee Boma in Parajok Payam, Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria State, have accused the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) of invading and patrolling South Sudan territory, instilling terror among the population, according to Radio Tamazuj.
According to local officials and reports, the significant UPDF deployment is the consequence of armed forces from South Sudan plundering livestock in Uganda’s Lamwo area last month and killing a Ugandan local government official.
According to Aloka Robert, a Pogee resident, the UPDF was monitoring the border entry point with armored vehicles and heavy armament, spreading fear among the residents.
“The UPDF has entered the checkpoint and is conducting operations near the people near the barracks.” “They advance with Mambas (armored personnel carriers) and infiltrate about 3 kilometers from the Pogee checkpoint,” he said. “It has instilled terror. People are cultivating the other (Ugandan) side, but they are afraid to go. Even today, they (UPDF) are on the move.”
According to Aloka, the UPDF patrols locations in South Sudan at night, dawn, throughout the day, and sometimes in the evening.
“Before the UPDF came in, people could easily walk to Ngomoromo market and see their relatives on either side of the border since we have intermarriages, uncles, and in-laws on both sides,” he said.
Aloka urged authorities from both nations to engage in communication and address any issues affecting the people living near the shared border.
The presence of the UPDF in South Sudan territory, according to Peter Lokeng Lotone, minister of local government and law enforcement agencies in Eastern Equatoria State, is a national issue that the state cannot address alone.
He reiterated that the deployment of the UPDF was in response to a livestock attack in Uganda by armed South Sudanese forces.
“We were aware of Ugandan soldiers in Magwi. Several livestock raiding instances occurred in Lamwo District (Uganda), prompting the UPDF to deploy near the border,” he stated. “I believe one of Uganda’s Local Council chairs was slain during a raid.”
“The guys that robbed the livestock from Uganda are Dinka from Bor, and the UPDF followed their tracks, which is why they deployed, and it is now a national matter, not a state one,” he continued.
According to Robert Agany Okumu, an SPLM party congressman from the region, the presence of the UPDF in Pogee undermines security and instills dread in the inhabitants.
“The Ugandan government has now reached Pogee, generating uneasiness among the people.” “I’m not sure whether the commissioner is aware of what’s going on,” he remarked. “We learned from sources on the ground that there are a large number of troops (UPDF) removing shrubs.” As a result, we want an update from Magwi’s commissioner.”
For his part, Magwi County Commissioner David Otto Remson verified massive UPDF deployment across the boundary point, River Limu, and into South Sudan.
Attempts to contact SSPDF spokesman Major General Lul Ruai for comment were unsuccessful since his phone remained unanswered.