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South Sudan Authorities Stop Road Maintenance Works in Lamwo

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.

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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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Luo audio     

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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 solution.       

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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.