Peace Blossoms as Trees and Chief Swap Places: 13 Ugandan Loggers and Local Chief Freed in Cross-Border Harmony
In a remarkable twist of events, the peaceful resolution between two neighbouring communities has taken an unexpected turn. In the heart of Africa, where borders can often be a source of tension, the story of 13 illegal Ugandan loggers and a local chief detained while visiting his brother has turned into a gripping tale of diplomacy and harmony.
Picture this: On one side, nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Kajo-Keji County, South Sudan, you have the diligent Chief Ernesto Tumia of Bori Boma. He had embarked on a journey to visit his ailing brother in Arua, Uganda. However, his journey took a detour when he was detained in the neighbouring Yumbe District on suspicion of having crossed into Uganda with SSPDF soldiers. A case of mistaken identity, you might say.
Meanwhile, on the other side, deep within the lush forests and rolling hills, 13 Ugandans were arrested by the vigilant youth of Bori Boma. Their alleged crime? Illegally logging and turning trees into charcoal within Kajo-Keji County, South Sudan. The tension between the communities was palpable.
Enter Angelo Daya, the Central Equatoria State Advisor on Peace and Security. With a heart for diplomacy and a vision for harmony, he stepped in to defuse the escalating situation.
Daya recounted, “There was tension brewing between the two communities of Kajo-Keji County, specifically Bori Boma, and UPDF of Uganda arrested the executive chief of Bori Boma, Ernesto Tumia. He was on his way to Yumbe to arrange transportation to visit his ailing brother in Arua when he was apprehended.”
But the story doesn’t end there. “Simultaneously,” Daya continued, “the youth of Bori Boma apprehended 13 Ugandans who had crossed into South Sudan. They were found guilty of logging, tree cutting, and charcoal burning.”
The situation had reached a boiling point, prompting authorities from Uganda’s West Nile and South Sudan’s Central Equatorial State to convene a meeting aimed at finding a peaceful solution.
Daya explained, “When Central Equatoria State heard of this, it delegated me to engage with the local government of Yumbe District. We had a meeting, and tensions ran high. However, we were driven by two key agendas: to secure the release of those arrested on both sides.”
And here’s where the story takes a thought-provoking twist. “We engaged both communities on both sides, Yumbe and Kajo-Keji,” Daya said, “Tumia was returned to our side of the border, and the 13 Ugandans were handed over to authorities in Yumbe District.”
In this extraordinary exchange, trees and chiefs swapped places in the quest for peace. Borders, once a source of tension, became the bridge to resolution. It’s a testament to the power of diplomacy and cooperation, reminding us that sometimes, even the unlikeliest of situations can lead to harmony in the end.