13 Ugandans arrested over land dispute released by South Sudanese authorities

Kampala, (UG): The thirteen Ugandans who were arrested and detained by South Sudan authorities on allegations of encroaching on their territories have been released, police spokesperson Fred Enanga revealed on Monday.

According to Mr Enanga, the group, accused of carrying out illegal charcoal burning and farming activities in Kajokeji, South Sudan were handed over to Ugandan authorities at Afogi border customs in Moyo district last Thursday.

“We wish to inform the public, that the 13 Ugandans who were allegedly abducted by the South Sudanese authorities in Koch sub county Yumbe district, in retaliation, towards the arrest of Ernesto Tumia a South Sudanese Chief of Bori Boma, for fuelling land conflicts,” Enanga said in a Monday police statement.

Police explained that A South Sudanese National identified as Ernesto Tumia, 52, a Village Chief from Bori in Kejikeji county, had been repeatedly entering Uganda with soldiers from the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF).

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Tumia was accused of parceling out land in Uganda and allocating it to South Sudanese nationals. Tumia’s activities led to his arrest by the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) on September 8, 2023.

In retaliation, Enanga says the South Sudanese Army and authorities raided Yumbe and arrested 13 Ugandans, and held them till the 14.09.2023, when they were handed over at 2 pm, at AFOGI BORDER POST, in Moyo district.

The Ugandan abductees were received by the LCV Chairperson Yumbe Hon. Aseku Abdul Mutalibu, DISO Yumbe and others, and in exchange Ernesto Tumia was handed over through the Commandant OPM Bididi refugee camp, Nabugere Joel Michael, in liaison with South Sudan authorities.

Those handed over include; Vuni Badru, Aliku Amiza, Alias, Boy, Saidi Lombe, Taban, Ezati Philliam, Ayiko Cosmas, Odama Sam, Diof Gaddafi, Reagan Ali, Kanda innocent Samuel was still held pending handover  of Ernest Tumia.

Enanga says both Ugandans and South Sudan authorities have since conducted a Joint meeting and emphasized peaceful co-existence, and several measures have been put in place by the Joint Security Agencies, to avert any infiltrations at Kock Sub county in Yumbe district.

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The security advisor to the governor of the Central Equatorial State in South Sudan, Angelo Daya Lodu equally condemned the arrests of local people over border issues in both countries.

He said, Uganda and South Sudan have been on good terms and their people have lived together for good decades. This harmony, according to him, doesn’t need to be spoiled over minor issues of border, which can be addressed in less than a day.

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