Calming tensions. Uganda-Sudan border reopens after 24-hour standoff

Monday March 5 2012

Police move to open the barricades on Uganda-Sudan border at Afoji in Moyo yesterday.

Police move to open the barricades on Uganda-Sudan border at Afoji in Moyo yesterday. The post was reopened after talks between Ugandan security and Kajo-Keji County officials following a 24-hour standoff due to a demonstration over alleged mistreatment by the SPLA. PHOTO BY SCOVIN ICETA  

By FELIX WAROM OKELLO

The Uganda-South Sudan border at Afoji in Moyo District was yesterday reopened after a 24-hour standoff over alleged mistreatment of Ugandans by South Sudanese officials.

The busy Afoji border post was reopened by security personnel after discussions with Kajo-Keji County authorities in South Sudan. The North-Western Police spokesperson, Ms Josephine Angucia, told Daily Monitor yesterday that the road is now cleared for movement.

“We removed the barricades although people still fear to use the road. People should be patient and wait for a team to verify and demarcate the border between Moyo and South Sudan.

This followed the nine Ugandan MPs who were held hostage for three hours by SPLA soldiers. One of the residents, Mr James Vukoni, yesterday said the acts of South Sudanese were inhumane.

“We have been living with the Sudanese as brothers and sisters, but they do not value our hospitality. They should change their attitude if not we shall push for their expulsion,” he said.

The MPs were on a mission to establish the facts about the border demarcations but were arrested as they entered in Bamure in Lefori in Moyo district.
The area that had been in contention later saw South Sudan authorities establish their unit being heavily guarded by SPLA soldiers.

Security personnel spend two hours to remove the stones and tree trunks that were used to block the road leading to Kajo-Keji in South Sudan. The North Western Regional Police Commander, Mr Samuel Okot, said there was need to respect the border territories.

Repeat of 2009
This is the second time the Afoji border post has been closed. In 2010, the border was also closed when Moyo residents held violent demonstrations after some farmers and workers who were constructing a telecom mast were arrested by SPLA soldiers.

Efforts to get comment from the South Sudanese Spokesperson living in Moyo proved futile as his phone was switched off. The Moyo RDC, Mr John Abingwa, said they would soon depart for Kampala to meet President Museveni over the matter.

“We do not want to see more of these clashes in Moyo but we want peace. And there is already communication from state House to meet the President over the matter,” Mr Abingwa said.

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