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Archbishop Odama Cautions Uganda, South Sudan over Boundary Row

Archbishop Odama says the two neighbouring countries share a lot in common historically and notes that both sides gain nothing in engaging in conflicts to address a mishap.
Gulu Archdiocese Archbishop John Baptist Odama speaking at a recent meeting in Agago District. Photo By Julius Ocungi

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The Gulu Catholic Archbishop Dr John Baptist Odama has cautioned Uganda and South Sudan governments over fronting violence as alternatives to settle misunderstandings.

His statements follow a standoff between South Sudan People’s Defence Forces- SSPDF and Uganda People’s Defence Forces Soldiers on Tuesday last week at the contentious Uganda-South Sudan border in Lokung sub-county, Lamwo district.

Two SSPDF soldiers, part of an estimated 36 who had intruded into the Ugandan territory were shot dead and one captured alive with three guns.

Speaking to the press in Kitgum Municipality, Archbishop Odama says the two neighbouring countries share a lot in common historically and notes that both sides gain nothing in engaging in conflicts to address a mishap.

Archbishop Odama who also doubles as Vice Chairperson of Acholi Religious Leaders peace initiative says the two countries should look at promoting avenues that improve the healthy relationship and economic boosts such as trade and tourism. 

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According to Archbishop Odama, Uganda is currently home to hundreds of thousands of South Sudan refugees who fled violence arguing that if South Sudan engages in conflict with Uganda, it would, on one hand, be fighting its citizens. Uganda hosts some 882,699 South Sudan Refugees as of September 30 according to data from the Office of the Prime Minister.

He called for dialogue through responsible people between the two nations to resolve the impasse.

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Archbishop Odama through ARLPI, interfaith peace building, and conflict transformation organization has been instrumental in brokering peace at the height of the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency in Northern Uganda.

Lt Deo AKiiki, the Deputy UPDF Spokesperson in an earlier press statement issued over the weekend noted that the continued incursions onto Ugandan territory by South Sudan armed elements present a challenge not only to the border communities but to the brotherly relations between the two nations.

He revealed that diplomatic engagements by relevant stakeholders are on-going to complete the re-demarcation and reaffirmation of the common border to forestall future conflicts between Uganda and South Sudan.