KAMPALA – The Uganda People’s Defence Forces said Wednesday they were still pursuing South Sudanese gunmen who attacked farmers at the border district of Lamwo, killed one farmer and ran away with an unspecified number of cattle at the weekend.
UPDF Fourth Division spokesperson, Maj Telesphor Turyamumanya, told PML Daily by telephone that the army had stepped up security along the porous border in a bid to apprehend the militiamen who attacked villages in Madi-Opei sub-county. The dead farmer was identified as Johnson Olweny, 45.
“We have tasked the South Sudanese authorities to join in the apprehension. The area is wide and remote, which calls for concerted efforts by the two countries,” Turyamumanya said. He said they were not yet sure whether the gunmen had crossed the border or not.
Earlier, residents and local leaders in Lamwo asked the army to protect them and their animals against rampant attacks by the South Sudanese. They claimed they were living in fear and had since neglected their farms for fear of being attacked and killed.
But Turyamumanya said: “The militia men come in as any thief so you cannot easily detect when they will strike. We ask the local to stay calm, be on the alert and vigilant so that they can act as early warning in order for us to come in and restore sanity.”
“I would to assure all people living at the South Sudan border that our soldiers are on the ground to ensure that no more attacks happen again,” he added.
Since 2017, more than 250 animals have been looted from the same area by South Sudanese gunmen.
Lamwo is one of the districts in Uganda that hosts more than one million refugees from South Sudan. Government figures estimate that about 45,000 South Sudanese refugees are being hosted at Palabek Ogili settlement centre in Lamwo.
Others are hosted in other districts of Adjumani, Abim, Arua, Moyo and Kiryandongo among others.