Prior to its invasion, Ethiopia settled its troops on an Eritrean Soil of Adi Murug at the pretext of pursuing remnants of the Afar Opposition. Is this a similar precedent to South Sudan too from a client state Uganda? Need to watch out!
By James Eriku,
South Sudan leaders in Magwi County in Eastern Equatorial state are demanding that Uganda immediately withdraws its soldiers from their territory, describing continued presence of UPDF on their land as inappropriate.
The leaders claim that the Uganda Peoples Defense Force (UPDF) soldiers were taken to the area to flush out the LRA rebels out of the area but even after finishing their mission, the soldiers are allegedly still in the area, engaging in dubious exploitative activities including illegal lumbering and distribution of Sudanese land to Ugandans.
The Commissioner of Magwi County, Mr Peter Bongomin Ochilo, during a border meeting over the weekend in Magwi claimed that the presence of the UPDF among the communities of Pajok, Payam and Owinykibul is continuously causing fear, tension and insecurity.
“Now that there is peace in our land, we ask the Ugandan soldiers to get out of our land. Their presence is psychologically torturing our people,” Mr Ochilo said.
The commissioner expressed dissatisfaction with the Uganda government’s current move to grade some of the roads that are inside South Sudan under heavy military guard without consulting the leadership of Magwi County.
“We are quite aware that the boundary between Uganda and South Sudan is at Pogee as opposed to Limu River.”
But the Resident District Commissioner of Lamwo District that borders South Sudan, Mr Alfred Omony Ogaba, said they handled the same issue in an earlier meeting which was initiated by Uganda government in Pajok-Payam last week and wondered why the commissioner did not take up the resolutions from the meeting.
Mr Ogaba decried what he called hostility of the South Sudanese towards Ugandans.
Just about a week ago, a border dispute between the Acholi of Magwi in South Sudan and the Madi of Uganda left at least 18 Sudanese Acholis dead.
Uganda has since maintained that the presence of its forces in South Sudan is for defensive purposes against the LRA rebels that have been launching attacks from Sudan.