KAMPALA – The Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) has said what it calls a continued incursion into its territory by South Sudan’s army soldiers is threatening relations between the two countries as well as the border communities, according to a statement extended to Sudans Post.
On Tuesday, a few South Sudan army soldiers and a huge force belonging to the UPDF clashed at Pogee village in Magwi County of Eastern Equatoria state, after villagers there complained of Ugandan army harassment.
Two South Sudanese soldiers were killed and one other was abducted. The bodies, as well as the kidnapped soldier, were later handed over to the army following talks between the defense ministries of the two countries.
Following the fighting, South Sudan army spokesman, Major-General Lul Ruai Koangissued a statement, accusing the southern neighbor’s army of incursion and of attacking an army outpost in Pogee.
However, in a statement this afternoon, a Ugandan army spokesperson said the UPDF was concerned over what it said is a false statement from his South Sudan army counterpart saying members of the SSPDF attacked his country’s territory.
“The Uganda Peoples Defence forces (UPDF) has noted with concern the statement attributed to the director of media and press and spokesperson of the South Sudan Peoples Defence Forces (SSPDF) dated 29th Oct 2020. The statement is completely false and a deliberate misrepresentation of what actually happened,” the statement reads in part.
“What happened is regrettable and can be avoided through mutual condemnation and decisive action against the remnant errant elements who on their own frolic, made this incursion into Ugandan territory ostensibly for the unofficial and individual criminal ends of extorting and robbing the Ugandan public,” it said.
The statement went on to explain the Uganda’s own version of what had taken place.
“That on 27th Oct 2020 at around 1300hrs SSPDF troops of about a platoon(36) size established an illegal road block and an ambush at Ted-Nagwe (Atwila) in Pangira sub-county, Lamwo district several kms inside Ugandan territory for unknown reasons.
“On receiving this information from the locals, the UPDF deployment in the area of Ngomoromo moved to Ted Nagwe on a fact-finding mission.
“While approaching the spot where the illegal roadblock was, one SSPDF soldier was spotted and the UPDF commander approached him for an explanation. While interacting with him, the rest came from the ambush and instantly opened fire towards the UPDF troops.
“The SSPDF soldiers were however, subdued by UPDF retaliatory fire in which two SSPDF soldiers died and one was captured with three guns (SMG). There was no single casualty registered on UPDF side. The two bodies, the captured soldier and the three guns were handed over to the South Sudanese authorities on 29th Oct 2020.
“It is within the means of the leadership of both the UPDF and SSPDF to address and put this matter to rest.”
The statement further said the “continued incursions onto Ugandan territory by South Sudanese armed elements, presents a challenge not only to the border communities but to the brotherly relations between the two countries.”
“Last, the ministries of foreign affairs and Defence of the two sister countries are working closely to address the matter.
“Diplomatic engagements by relevant stakeholders are ongoing to complete the re-demarcation and reaffirmation of the common border to forestall future conflicts.”