The Lokung Sub County LC III Chairperson, Joachim Opoka Ocan, says heavily armed soldiers from the South Sudan Peoples Defense Force (SSPDF) stormed the road maintenance last week. The soldiers allegedly confronted the contractor accusing them and the Uganda government of crossing 7kilometers deep inside their territory.
South Sudan authorities have stopped MOA
Construction Company Ltd from the routine maintenance of the 35-kilometer road
from Corner Ogwec in Lokung Sub County in Lamwo to Loremo border for alleged
encroachment on their territory.
The Lokung Sub County LC III Chairperson,
Joachim Opoka Ocan, says heavily armed soldiers from the South Sudan Peoples Defense
Force (SSPDF) stormed the road maintenance last week. The soldiers allegedly confronted
the contractor accusing them and the Uganda government of crossing 7kilometers
deep inside their territory.
Opoka says repeated efforts to implore the leaders
of Payam leaders in Pajok in South Sudan to allow the road works to continue have
not yielded results.
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Opoka says that the situation has caused great
fear amidst residents who always use the road to access their gardens on the
borders and those involved in trade because of the presence of heavily armed
SSPDF personnel in the contested areas.
Lamwo Resident District Commissioner, James
Nabinson Kideg, says that a delegation from the two countries met at
Ngomoromo border outpost on Sunday to discuss the matter and reach consensus. Kidega warned that Uganda has the capacity of
deploying its security forces to guard the contractor but they decided to use
diplomatic means to resolve the stalemate.
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Kidega stressed that priority needs to be given
to the benefits of improving transport infrastructure for both South Sudanese
and Ugandans without fallacious motives. According to Kidega, delaying the roadworks
meant to ease accessibility and movement of goods and services, compromises the
East African Federation protocols of boosting regional trade and cooperation.
The Magwii County Commissioner, Otoo Rembson, says that the County and Payam
leaders only resolved to halt the project in good faith as a way of
averting cross border clashes from erupting. He asked his Ugandan counterparts to accord
them time as he consults his government on the matter for a possible
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Otto says although the desired process of
demarcating the borders is currently at the international level, he said that
there is need to expedite it to bring a permanent solution to the persistent
border conflicts between the two countries.
Disputes between the two countries over the
border dating back to 2010 when Uganda announced plans to upgrade over 60-kilometer
road stretch from Kitgum to South Sudan. The South Sudanese authorities accused the
contractor of attempting to enter the road 20 kilometers deep inside their territory.
In 2017, South Sudanese authorities also attempted to halt the upgrade of the
Acholibur-Musingo road claiming that it has extended inside their territory. In 2018, South Sudan halted a road survey
exercise intended to refurbish the 21-kilometre security road from Agoro
sub-county to Apiriti market at South Sudan border on claims that the surveyors
had encroached on its boundary.