KAMPALA — A group of armed suspected cattle raiders from South Sudan on Friday night attacked residents of Tunzia Cell in Midigo Town Council, Yumbe District, Ugandan media reports.
According to the area LC3 Chairperson Mr Gasper Onzima, the said criminals reportedly abducted one resident identified as Muhammad Abega who they instructed to take them to various homes thought to have livestock.
“The rebels collected many animals and they were trying to escape with tem to South Sudan,” he told this reporter. The UPDF intercepted the suspected cattle raiders before crossing the border and there was exchange of fire that led to the death of one of them,” he said.
Confirming the shoot–out, UPDF fourth division spokesperson Capt Ahmad Hassan Kato said: “One of about four suspected South Sudanese cattle thieves was put out of action after he came into contact with our forces along Kandiyo-Tululu road in Tunzia Village, Mocha Parish, in Midigo Town Council.”
Authorities say the deceased was dressed in a South Sudanese army uniform bearing the rank of major.
“He could not be identified at the time but he died instantly and the rest ran away,” Midigo Town Council LC3 Chairperson Mr Onzima informed.
According to Capt Kato, an SMG gun and 26 rounds of ammunitions were recovered while at least 17 goats and 15 cows were also rescued.
This publication understands that the deceased has been “buried on the Ugandan side in Kandiyo, Yumbe” even as leaders are urging settlers near the West Nile border to relocate.
“We resolved in a security meeting that those settled close to the border especially near River Kaya must shift towards Kandiyo because it will be hard to come to their rescue in case something happens to them as the UPDF barracks are far,” Mr Onzima cautioned.
On Saturday, the army voiced determination “to ensure that the West Nile borderline is safe and secure.”
Some unconfirmed speculation directly linked the suspected cattle raiders to the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SPLA). A top SPLA official Saturday said he was not aware about the incident.
“I will get in touch with our SPLA-IO Commander and the Ugandan forces then inform you about of what happened,” Col Lam said.
Deadly raids by armed criminals have persisted in some parts of Uganda in attacks that official data shows have claimed over 50 civilians in just over one year.