South Sudan army’s 7th Division commander in Torit State, Brig Gen Khulang Jarif Chuol, has requested the Ugandan authorities to allow South Sudanese security operatives to pursue criminals hiding in Uganda refugee camps.
Gen Chuol made the request during a security meeting to address the deteriorating border security being infiltrated by criminals from both South Sudan and Uganda at Magwi County Headquarters in South Sudan on Monday.
The Lamwo Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr James Nok Kidega, said the district security committee is investigating how the criminals mobilise to wreak havoc back home so that appropriate measures can be put in place.
Mr Kidega said some of the suspected criminals from South Sudan cross to Uganda with guns which they later sell to criminals in the region, which guns he said are used in criminality in Uganda.
Mr Kidega said they will not allow anyone to destabilise the cordial relationship between the two countries.
Last month, some South Sudan refugees from settlement centres in Lamwo District allegedly looted several villages in their home country.
It is reported the refugees caused havoc that involved looting in several villages of Magale, Paracelle and Owiny ki bul, all in Magwi County, leaving two people dead and scores injured.
Daily Monitor has learnt that the refugees hired a numberless Fuso truck carrying ammunition which they disguised and when they reached the security check point, they claimed to have been from a traditional wedding in Lamwo.
Having passed the police check point and entered South Sudan, the group allegedly staged a roadblock before looting property.
Commenting about the incident, the Governor Torit State, Mr Alberio Tobiollo Oromo, said some South Sudanese after committing crimes in their home country seek refuge in Uganda. “These people after committing crimes in South Sudan seek refuge in Lamwo where they link up with other criminal gangs and organise themselves to carry out criminal activities on return,’’ he said.
“They come as refugees, use settlements as their hideout, mobilise to attack, something that is also failing all the initiatives put in place to see that peace returns back home,” Mr Oromo added.
The highway robberies, killings and looting on major highways in the South Sudan are associated with the suspected criminals who hide in refugee settlements in Uganda.
“The refugee settlement centres in Kiryandongo and Adjumani districts are where the planning takes place and execution is done at Palabek settlement centres,” he said.
Every day between 150 to 160, South Sudan Refugees enter Uganda through Ngomoromo, Aweno Olwiyo and Waligo border points, all in Lamwo.
There are 38,000 South Sudan refugees settled in the three settlement centres in Palabek Sub-county. In February, security officials in Lamwo, Kitgum and Amuru districts said the conflict in South Sudan was fuelling the emergence of armed criminal groups in northern Uganda.