Ugandan Security agencies have tasked their counterparts in South Sudan to beef up security along the Nimule-Juba Highway, which connects the two countries.
The call comes in the wake of resurgence of insecurity that left a Ugandan and a South Sudanese nationals dead on Tuesday in Aswa village, Lowa Pageri County, some 18km north of Nimule Town.
Police identified a Ugandan victim as Lydia Namono, 23, a waitress from Sironko District who was shot dead by unknown gunmen in an ambush.
The deceased was travelling in a Toyota Noah car registration number SSD 438AN from Juba city to Nimule Town with other nine occupants when the incident happened.
Two other passengers who sustained injuries in the shooting are being treated at St Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Gulu Town, according to police reports.
Brig Richard Karemeire, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) spokesperson, said that they are liaising with South Sudan officials to ensure the major trade route between the two countries is safe.
“We have taken interest in what happened on Tuesday and thus we are urging the South Sudan security personnel to do whatever it takes to ensure the people plying the Nimule-Juba highway are safe,” Brig Karemeire said.
Brig Karemeire, however, advised Ugandans travelling to war-torn South Sudan to be cautious saying their safety only lies in the hands of South Sudan Security teams once they are out of Uganda.
“Security can only be guaranteed by South Sudan government once you are in their country. Their government has committed itself to ensuring peace and thus it’s their mandate. “We don’t have UPDF in South Sudan who can be deployed to protect the Ugandan Citizens there, I can assure them of being protected when they are here,” he said.
The Tuesday incident has left many Ugandan traders, passengers and drivers in panic while others have since Tuesday camped at Elegu town council headquarters in Amuru District fearing to cross into South Sudan.
Mr Michael Tokoma, a businessman at Elegu Town council said: “We have some traders and drivers here who are afraid of crossing into south Sudan. They want assurance from their army and police that they will be safe once in South Sudan.”
It should be noted that in June 2017, five Ugandans were shot dead after being ambushed by suspected militias at Moli village, about 140 kilometres from Juba.