Women Fish Traders Cry Foul Over Impounded Cargo at Uganda Border
A group of South Sudanese women fish traders are demanding government intervention after Ugandan authorities impounded their cargo worth 17 million Ugandan shillings.
The women say they legally purchased the fish stock in South Sudan and paid the required taxes to import the cargo into Uganda. But Ugandan security officials blocked the shipment in Amuru District after it had already cleared customs at the Elegu border point.
“The different arms of government do not respect the documents from another arm of government,” said Matthew Lopwonya, chairman of the South Sudan Cross Border Traders Association. “What we are calling upon the government is to implore them to release the vehicle of the women unconditionally.”
The traders took loans to finance their businesses and relied on the income to support their families. Impounding their stock threatens their livelihoods.
Major Joseph Loerop, an intelligence officer on the Ugandan side, said the matter is under investigation. However, the traders complain they are suffering due to lack of coordination between Ugandan authorities.
“The challenge here is not the women, it is not the fault in law, it is the fault of Uganda Revenue Authority and the Fisheries Department that there is no coordination in government,” Lopwonya said.
The flare-up highlights ongoing tensions around cross-border trade between Uganda and South Sudan. The women fish traders, who were visibly distressed by the situation, are calling for expedited government intervention to release their impounded cargo so they can deliver it to the market.