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Sudan claims part of Moyo District in Uganda

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by ByaseL, Sep 2, 2009.

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    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

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    Sep 2, 2009
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    Warom Felix Okello
    Moyo

    Sudanese People’s Liberation Army soldiers, yesterday afternoon attacked Ugandan farmers in Lefori Sub-county, Moyo District, claiming the land belongs to Sudan.

    Seven heavily-armed SPLA soldiers ordered the farmers in Gwere Parish in Lefori to uproot their crops and leave the area which they said belonged to them, witnesses said. Lefori Sub-county Chief, Mr Saidi Sebi Makosa told Daily Monitor by phone: “The soldiers fired bullets in the air that scared children keeping watch over the crops.” The children, he said, ran and some got injured.

    Mr Sebi, speaking after visiting the scene, reported that the contested land is about 10 kilometres inside the Ugandan territory. He accused the invading soldiers of destroying some of the crops and acting “lawlessly.”

    In Kampala, Mr Ernest Onge, the Government of South Sudan’s principal liaison officer, said he was unaware of the reported raid.
    “Let us examine the information properly,” he said, adding: “If it is true, it should be taken as individual acts of SPLA soldiers and treated as an isolated incident. I know our government cannot order something like that.”

    Moyo District Woman MP Anne Auru, however, said yesterday’s attack was one of the many her constituents have endured in the hands of “cruel” SPLA soldiers without commensurate response from Ugandan authorities. She said: “It’s an unfortunate incident because there have been previous disturbances by our Sudanese neighbours and the Uganda government is fully aware but failing to take action to clearly define the border.”

    Yesterday’s attack, that has heightened tension at the frontier, comes a week after another group of SPLA soldiers reportedly arrested and caned some 20 Ugandan workers erecting a mobile telephone mast in Afoji border area, some 15 kilometres from Lefori.

    Ugandan official were unable to explain last week’s thrashing.
    Commenting on yesterday’s incident, the acting Moyo District Police Commander, Mr Anthony Ojok, said security personnel in the area would address the issue with their counterparts in South Sudan through cross-border discussions. “We condemn such attacks and we need to have dialogue so that we harmonise the relationships with Sudan,” he said. All land wrangles involving the two countries should be solved through bilateral talks, he suggested.

    Earlier, Sub-county chief Makosa advised the furious community, which was planning to demonstrate over the attack, not to retaliate by attacking thousands of Sudanese nationals who have lived as refugees in Lefori Sub-county and other parts of West Nile for more than two decades. He said this is the second attack in four months by Sudanese soldiers against farmers in his sub-county. In the first incident, two farmers were allegedly arrested and locked in a container inside Sudan for three hours before they were released and allowed to return home.

    Ugandan Foreign Affairs ministry officials were unavailable for comment last evening. Some residents said local political and
    security
     
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    Nanu JF-Expert Member

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    I think the borders issues should always be given the attention it deserve and they should be resolved amicably. The South Sudan Govt and Ugandan Govt should take action immediately, otherwise we will witness the war between the two nations not a long time from now.
     
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    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

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    Monitor Team
    West Nile/Kampala

    Angry residents yesterday forcefully closed a customs post on the border with Sudan in protest over Tuesday’s attack by troops from Southern Sudan.

    The demonstrators, numbering in the hundreds, forced the closure of Afogi Customs Post, a key trade gateway to the Eastern Equatoria State of South Sudan as a dispute over ownership of land near the border escalated yesterday.

    Agitated residents, some of whom trekked 15 kilometres from villages in Lefori Sub-county, scene of the incursion by the foreign troops, stormed Moyo town and had by 2p.m. shut all shops run by Sudanese nationals – the lead entrepreneurs here.

    The usually thriving cross-border trade between Moyo and South Sudan’s Kajo Keji Township was paralysed as angry youth, buoyed by commercial motorcycle riders (Boda Boda), felled huge trees to block the international thoroughfare.

    UPDF soldiers and anti-riot police were hurriedly deployed to restrain the angry mob from invading Moyo Hospital to evict patients of Sudanese origin in a day of unrest likely to cause diplomatic headache for both Kampala and Juba.

    The uproar, touched off by alleged unchecked harassment of Moyo residents by Sudanese People’s Liberation Army soldiers over the last two years, could potentially jeopardise the lives of Ugandans living in parts of South Sudan.

    Two other border crossing points at Nimule and Oraba remained open yesterday. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Mr James Mugume yesterday called for restraint by parties to the misunderstanding on who owns the land in Gwere Parish, Lefori Sub-county. [​IMG]

    “The most important thing is that we need to re-mark and verify our borders so that they do not become a flashpoint of conflict for communities living near the border,” he said. Cabinet recently endorsed a February 2009 African Union resolution requiring countries with border disputes to settle the matters through permanent border verification committees.

    As a result, said Ambassador Mugume, Uganda has largely resolved its border problems with Tanzania and Rwanda while agreements have been signed to sort similar contests with the Kenyan and Congolese governments.

    Uganda’s myriad border problems straddle from Mutukula in the south to Migingo on Lake Victoria and up on the eastern flank to Amudat in Moroto District.

    In 2007, Ugandan and Congolese soldiers briefly fought over the ownership of Rukwanzi Island on Lake Albert following oil discoveries in that region, a skirmish that eventually triggered other border disputes at Goli and Vurra Custom posts in Nebbi and Arua Districts, respectively.

    In the Tuesday incident, seven heavily-armed SPLA soldiers reportedly raided Lefori, shooting in the air to chase about 200 residents from farmlands the soldiers claimed are on Sudan soil.
    Mr Ciec Mayor, the Government of South Sudan’s First Secretary to Uganda, said: “I cannot comment now because I need to consult with the district commissioner of Kajo Keji to confirm whether the soldiers attacked people in Moyo.”
     
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