UPDF grabs land, farms from 1,000 S.Sudanese


UPDF soldiers

The presence of Ugandan forces in the border area of Phogee is hindering the return of internally displaced people to their homes, an official has said.

Eye radio reports that more than 1,000 civilians fled their homes last week when Ugandan forcefully took their land amid gunfire.

Residents accused the Ugandan troops of entering and occupying territories more than 15 km inside South Sudan.

Ugandan authorities claimed the confrontation was to evict South Sudanese who settled on Ugandan land illegally.

County Commissioner, Ben Kingstone, told the radio that UPDF soldiers have now settled in the farms of the displaced civilians in Phogee.

He told Eye Radio that the displaced still fear to return home due to the presence of the UPDF.

“Even if they go back in their houses they will not have access to their farms,” Kingstone said.

The chief of Phogee, Peter Okot, says the forces have also stopped cross-border movement.

South Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Barnaba Marial, says a joint technical committee between the two countries has been collecting colonial maps about the borders.

The maps will also help in demarcating the border with Kenya.

“Our technical committee was able to visit London; they went to Egypt and Khartoum in order to collect old maps which will determine the boundaries between Uganda and South Sudan and between Kenya and South Sudan,” Marial stated.

He added that a government delegation will be sent to Uganda next week to continue discussing border demarcation.

African Union gives Uganda money to demarcate the borders

Meanwhile, the African Union gave Uganda money to demarcate all disputed border areas with her neighbours.

Hilary Onek, the Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees says the demarcation exercise is meant to enable government resolve border disputes with its neighbours; South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and DR Congo.

He says the money was disbursed by the African Union Commission to help member countries locked in boundary disputes with her neighbours to resolve them peacefully.

According to Onek, government will liaise with South Sudan to demarcate the Uganda-South Sudan borderline as a way of resolving the inter-border disputes.

Onek who is the Lamwo County MP, was on Monday visiting residents of Ngomoromo in Lokung Sub-county where South Sudan nationals allegedly invaded and occupied Ugandan territory.

The deputy commander UPDF 5th Division, Col Stephen Mugerwa, is quoted by Daily Monitor confirming to Onek that the governor of Magwi County in South Sudan has communicated to the UPDF pledging commitment of the attendance of South Sudan authorities.

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