AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Ugandan troops invade South Sudanese territory: “Border dispute with Uganda should be resolved through diplomatic channels”

Friday, 29 September 2023 military  

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - The border dispute between Uganda and South Sudan should be resolved through diplomatic negotiations. This was stated by South Sudanese army spokesman Major General Lul Ruai Koang, saying the matter should be dealt with by the joint border committee set up by both countries. Previously, authorities in Kajo-Keji district, in the southernmost part of Central Equatoria state, reported on Sunday, September 24, that Ugandan troops had entered South Sudanese territory and had allegedly set up a military camp there. The border between Kajo-Keji (in South Sudan) and Moyo (in Uganda) has always been particularly "permeable", being crossed in one direction or another during the Sudanese civil wars preceding the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA, agreement that gave birth to South Sudan with its secession from Sudan). However, after the signing of the agreement and South Sudan's independence, the lack of border definition led to tensions and clashes, particularly over control of the fertile area around Sunyu. Tensions between the South Sudanese Kuku and the Ugandan Ma'dí border community escalated, leading to violent clashes in Kajo-Keji and Moyo. The bloodiest clashes occurred in 2014. According to local authorities, at least 20 people were killed and 200 huts were set on fire. Recently, conflicts between the two countries' communities have increased along the South Sudan-Ugandan border. According to media reports, such border conflicts continue to occur along the border point between Magwi district (South Sudan) and Lamwo district (Uganda). Back in December 2015, South Sudan and Uganda signed a memorandum of understanding to ease border tensions and enable the demarcation of the disputed 470 kilometer border. However, little progress has been made since then. The Ugandan ambassador in Juba sent a signal of easing tensions by presenting his government's nine-point plan to help South Sudan rebuild its ailing economy. The plan focuses on strengthening education and health services and creating conditions that attract foreign investment to diversify the national economy, which depends 98% on a single source of income: oil exports. Meanwhile, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir is currently in Moscow, where he met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The talks focused on the civil war in Sudan and the expansion of bilateral relations between the two countries in the areas of economics, development, trade, energy and education. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 29/9/2023)