By Metedio Iceta.
WESTNILE- Tensions along Uganda-South Sudan border over land dispute between Kuku tribe and West Nile district communities has now forced the leaders to convene a high level cross border meeting with delegations from South Sudan and Uganda for bilateral relationship.
Mr Williams Anyama, the Moyo district LCV Chairman told daily monitor that leaders are ready to have high delegation meeting scheduled to take place on Friday with leadership of government of South Sudan which will be attended by both Kampala and Juba governments including the local authorities Westnile and local authorities of greater Kajo-Keji County.
“We appealed to the people of Moyo and Yumbe districts to continue with the spirit of peacefully co-existing and harmony that has been in place since time in memorial. We should be peace lovers in order to avoid unnecessary manipulation of situation and much as there are few isolated cases this should not be used by anyone of us to abuse the process”
“Our expectation out of the Friday meeting is that the peaceful co-existence should be restored between Uganda and South Sudan after some previous incidents that happened will be restored because there are a number of meetings being conducted. The recent incident that has caused our people to be displaced after they were evicted from villages Gwere West, Itia, Emkbwe, Linyamiro and Gwere North farmland along the Uganda-South Sudan border the affected persons are majorly children and women”
Mr Anyama has cited lack of proper coordination has caused the recent incident and urged the leaders of both parties involved should improve on coordination strategies.
“There will be continued service delivery in this disputed area because people need services. What is important is communication if keep communicating among ourselves we shall not real have those problems because nobody eats border and our people need to understand that nobody would be served with border on his table as per now the situation is not out of hand but instead it is under control and the good thing is that the leadership of two affected districts (Moyo and Yumbe) real the peace we advocating would be prevailed in; our people should not have cause of alarm”
Mr Abdul Twaibu Asiku, the Yumbe district LCV Chairperson has described the incident as so unfortunate with regrettable that people of Kuku tribe in Kajo-Keji County, South Sudan attacked our people in Goboro and Gwere north villages within Yumbe and also Moyo districts.
“This matter we thought could be resolved peacefully but later it escalated into displacement of our people, destroying of property and looting of animals. We regret over the incident right now as I talk we had meeting with the office of the Prime minister and UNHCR regarding how the displaced persons can be supported in the meantime we continue to discuss with the leadership of South Sudan and when this people can be resettled but the biggest challenges I see is the basic requirements that are required to feed these people and also other basic necessities are not adequate”
“United Nations High Commission for Refugees had pledged to provide support for only one week for just 700 people but as I talk now this number is over 2000. This means that the resources UNHCR is providing for these people for seven days would not be adequate to support them and we are now appealing to the office of the Prime Minister Disaster preparedness in particular relief and Refugee to provide relief for this affected persons camped at reception Centre”
He noted that when the Uganda-South Sudan meeting is held and agrees that these people must be settled then the relief that can be provided to resettle these people because they have lost property; their houses were burnt; their animals are looted and all this is a serious suffering for the communities.
Mr Asiku added: “In the meeting held in Moyo district, stakeholders have resolved that there is a need for the government , especially the office of the Prime minister to provide relief including iron sheets; including compensating the people who have lost their animals and property. If the OPM is able to address it would help us (Yumbe district) to relief the people from the stress that they are going through otherwise as of now the situation is bad and there is still no clear commitment of government as to when they can response to this emergency”
Mr Martin Vuyaya, the Yumbe Resident District Commissioner said the district does not have any budget to respond to the emergency. “This means that the affected people still do not have anything to eat as they were taken to a reception Centre. The development partners provided other non-food items for the children’s survival but still things are not working out correctly and we are now calling upon the central government to respond on this matter of emergency”, Mr Vuyaya said.
Brigadier Gen Robert Koch, the Uganda People Defence Forces 509 Brigade Commander has blamed the Commissioner of Kajo-Keji County for causing the confusion in the area, not security operatives of South Sudan.
“The problem is the commissioner in our neighbor who has acted negatively against the bilateral relationship signed in Yumbe district held last year. There was no clashing between Uganda-Kuku but it was the Kuku who are para military instead attacked our people and there was no involvement of army of South Sudan government but there are some few wrong elements who had settled along the border line are the one fueling this confusion spearheaded by the Commissioner of Kajo-Keji County”, Brig Gen Koch said.
On Sunday 7th May, 2023 at around 1am a group of people from South Sudan came to Uganda and burnt several huts and looted property belonging to Ugandans. They claimed that the land belonged to them and the people should be vacant. In retaliation the people who fled the area also burnt down houses belonging to the families from South Sudan (Kuku tribe) who have settled in Lefori Sub County.
The district is experiencing heavy rains now and people don’t have shelter and anything to keep them warm.
Due to the situation on ground the People are traumatized with no hope as all their properties have been destroyed.