YUMBE/MOYO. The continuous cattle raiding and abduction along Uganda- South Sudan border is said to be fuelling conflict and insecurity between the two neighbours.
During a joint cross border security meeting held at Jale border point in Kajokeji County, South Sudan on Saturday, the delegation from the two countries lamented about the acts of the individuals who are trying to destabilize the peace at the border points.
Mr Moses Abajo, the chairman Kerwa Kerwa sub county in Yumbe district said due to the continuous disturbance and insecurity at the border, people are living in fear.
"Our people from Kerwa sub county (Uganda) have been displaced by the cattle raiders. The armed cattle raiders (South Sudanese) entered 6kms deep into the Ugandan side where they raided many herds of cattle and abducted some people", he said.
He said some of the abducted people escaped but two are still missing and the herds of cattle raided are not yet recovered.
Ms Caroline Angolere, the Yumbe resident district commissioner said food insecurity and the incoming insecurity are the two things that cause conflict.
She said there is a need to enhance co-existence between the two countries so that they can trade freely and peacefully.
"What is facilitating the cattle theft is the booming cattle trade between the two countries. There are few elements along the border especially on the Kerwa side who engage in cattle trade, so they keep on stealing herds of cattle from one another and take them to the market", she said.
"We have issues of arms trafficking. In Yumbe we have refugees who move in and out so in this process of movement, they sneak in with firearms into the settlement and there is a need to regulate it", she added.
She also revealed that the SPLA-IO are recruiting the youths from Ugandan side into rebel activities which needs to be stopped.
But according to Mr Williams Anyama, the district chairperson of Moyo, no new cases of cattle raiding has been registered on the side of Moyo district.
"We last registered an incident of cattle raiding in 2018 in Metu sub county but as of now we have not yet experienced another attack of similar nature in the area", he said.
"This has built confidence where we learned from the past experience that made us put an internal control system to control the matter. There is a need to strengthen coordination among the security forces to stop the cattle raid at the borders", he added.
Mr Genesio Moro, the minister for local government in the Central Equatorial state said Ugandans are claiming that the people of South Sudan are encroaching their territory but the challenge of cattle keepers is also in Uganda.
He said the cattle keepers encroach areas where people practice Agriculture but the fortunate synario is that they have not got reports of any Ugandan crossing to South Sudan.
"Cattle raiding is a big issue that has caused displacement of our neighbours. Our state government has taken up this matter seriously and the president of South Sudan has ordered people who had raided cattle from the Ugandan side to return them", he said.
Mr Emmanuel Adil Anthony the governor for Central Equatoria state said the absence of the local government structure on the South Sudan side has hindered their relations with Uganda.
He said with the presence of the new administration in Kajokeji County and some of the counties bordering Uganda will strengthen the relationship.
"The border clashes, land and border disputes, illegal logging trade, and the high rate of smuggling that happens along the borders are derailing our progress. We need to identify those weak points and spoilers of our good reputations so that the resolutions that we have already made during our meetings in Koboko and Yei are implemented", he said.
While responding to the allegations of trafficking of firearms and rebel recruitment by the SPLA-IO, the Governor said they have taken it as a challenge and promised to bring this as one of the items on the agenda for discussion in the next security meeting.
The delegates agreed in the meeting to promote bilateral relations and security management within the border areas.
The next joint cross border meeting shall take place in Moyo district either late May or early June this year where it was resolved that Koboko district, Morobu, Kupera and Lanya counties in Yei river state be brought on board.