Tighten security of porous borders

Friday May 22 2020

Covid-19 has brought unprecedented disruptions to normal life.

As a result, authorities have worked tirelessly to secure their areas of jurisdiction.

While our leaders can be commended for their work, there is still much more to be done to contain the virus.

What used to be the normal modus operandi needs to be strengthened in various ways to secure our borders.

For instance, Yumbe District, which neighbours South Sudan, is a porous border that hinders the fight against coronavirus. The district has an influx of refugees who oscillate between camps there and their homes in South Sudan.

The rising numbers of Covid-19 cases in South Sudan pose a great danger to the safety of the districts in the greater north and country. Therefore, extra measures need to be instituted to prevent the spread of the virus.


The Office of the Prime Minister, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, should ensure that refugees stay in their camps to avoid the risk of getting into contact with those infected or spreading the virus to the surrounding districts.

It is also crucial to massively sensitise refugees about the dangers of escaping from their camps.

They should adhere to the presidential directives, as well as the standard operating procedures so that we all stay safe.

Refugees who leave their residences in the camps and cross to their countries should be arrested and prosecuted.

If they have to move from one location, say from Koboko to Bidi Bidi camp, then they should have an authorisation letter from the OPM. These measures will control refugee movement.

However, this requires commitment and an intentional approach to overcome this precarious scenario. The community also needs to be empowered to scrutinise visitors and report them to police or health centres for screening.

There is also need to beef up security and patrolling of the border points to combat illegal entry and exit by the refugees.

A concerted effort is required to combat the common enemy, therefore, working with and through community-based structures such as the local council officers, Gombolola Internal Security Officers and Local Defence Unit personnel, will help restrain the influx of people coming into or leaving the coutry.

Context specific remedies to volatile and porous borders require hard-handed leadership and when necessary, an iron fist may be evoked to bring sanity in the areas.

Arnold Wangwe