Security authorities in Gulu have ordered for the screening and registration of all residents in Ilegu border area. The directive issued on Tuesday follows the escalation of insecurity in the area over the past three months. Ilegu an emerging cross border market frequented by traders from South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda is experiencing insecurity from thugs who carryout cross border raids. Several businessmen have lost money and merchandise to thugs who waylay them and cross back to South Sudan.
The Gulu district security committee led by Navinson Kidega, the Gulu Resident District Commissioner met on Tuesday and resolved that all he residents in the border area be screened and only citizens of Uganda and aliens with legal papers be registered as residents. Patrick Okema, the Aswa Region Police Spokesperson, says the screening will enable security officials to apprehend wrong elements who could have taken refuge in Ilegu after committing crimes from elsewhere.
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Ilegu border area, with shanty buildings evolved over the past years as a weekly market and has of late grown to become the busiest open air market in Acholi Sub-region. The rapid growth of the center from a few roadside stalls has taken the local authorities by surprise as challenges of urbanization like unplanned development, prostitution and poor sanitation crop up. From a distance Ilegu center looks more of an internally displaced people’s camp because of the makeshift buildings.
The center is dotted with hundreds of small makeshift buildings made out of rusted iron sheets, mud and wattle. Officials from the department of Immigration recently stormed the area and arrested 32 illegal aliens who include Kenyans and Cameroonians. The group was hurriedly arraigned before a magistrate court in Gulu and deported.