By Andrew Olweny
August 07, 2015(Nyamilepedia) – The Uganda people’s defense Forces /UPDF put out a press release on Tuesday morning lashing out at South Sudan’s government soldiers as being nothing but invaders who have been flushed out by the Ugandan army.
This comes after report that Ugandan army has joined a local border dispute and invaded South Sudanese territory of Pagok Payam by deploying heavy weapons in the area raising tensions between the two neighbouring countries and allies.
UPDF Spokeperson Paddy Ankunda claiming they have flushed out south Sudanese soldiers from Apuk and Yoke villages in Lokung Sub-county for invading the area, Lamwo District, a territory that rightly belong to Pajok Payam authority of Eastern Equatoria state Republic of South Sudan.
This is beyond doubt as the people on both side of the borders are the same ethnic groups and they know their ancestral borders, the above mentioned areas falling in South Sudan and the Native had never before consider themselves Ugandan but South Sudanese, even the UPDF border checkpoint lies far from the area historically been part of South Sudan.
The Ugandan authority in the area puts the number of invading south Sudanese army at 200 soldiers, reportedly entering nine kilometers into Uganda and placing an illegal boundary demarcation near River Limu in Lokung Sub-county last Friday.
Pajok paramount chief disputed the UPDF claims, saying the disputed areas belong to Acholi Pajok and has never been part of Uganda, he added there were no South Sudanese soldiers present in the area, why would South Sudan keep such large number of armies at where there is no frontline at the time of war? He asked.
The only people UPDF met were the unarmed native youth from the disputed areas that have been fired on by the heavily armed UPDF. He added.
“The intruders, mostly from the border area between Magwi County of South Sudan, which borders Lamwo District in northern Uganda, destroyed several acres of crops” said a Ugandan authority official.
The claim made by the local Ugandan authority in the areas and the local Ugandan authority that accused South Sudanese army of displacing more than 400 Ugandans from their homes following the incursion.
While the spokesperson Col Paddy Ankunda of UPDF, and his forces considered to be an ally of Juba and a friendly nation by Kiir in his war against Riek Machar, employed surprising terms and he was quoted saying on Tuesday.
“they (UPDF) have forced the South Sudanese out from the area” Col Paddy Ankunda speaking to media.
“We received the reports of their invasion and took matters politely to advise the intruders (south Sudanese army) to leave the area but they arrogantly refused to leave,” said Col Ankunda.
Locals from the local Luo Acholi say Col Paddy has no knowledge of the disputed border areas and should not make up stories to invade a friendly neighbouring country, secondly the locals faulted the UPDF for being disgraceful and insulting their Juba ally forces as invaders.
“When UPDF tried to calm them, they responded with gun shots, thus forcing our men to use deadly force against them.” Col Ankunda added, blaming the South Sudanese side.
This invasion by Ugandan army of South Sudan territory using military force would be seen as a big blow to the close relations between President Salva Kiir’s regime and President Musevenis NRM regime who have been seen as the closest of allies.
Other observers believe this could be a strategy from Ugandan president Museveni to influence and scatter the current peace talks underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia between South Sudanese warring parties, blaming Museveni for not wanting anything good for South Sudan.
Locals say hundred of civilians have been displaced after the UPDF invaded their land in Pajak Payam and are calling on the South Sudanese army and government to respond to UPDF in kind to protect the territorial integrity of South Sudan, they say the UPDF actions does not match with actions of an ally but only an invader.
This is not the first attempt by neighbouring countries to invade South Sudanese territories in areas seen as having high mineral resource deposits.
Early in the year Kenyan forces invaded the South Sudanese border town of Nadapal, an areas believed to be rich in gold and also oil, there was no strong response seen from Salva Kiir’s regime which said it would resolve the issues diplomatically, but locals says there has been no serious actions from the government to defend the country’s territory and integrity.
Meanwhile some areas of Kajo-keji Payam has also been invaded by UPDF last year claiming a large part of the area belongs to Uganda, the issues was raised at national level but locals say the government seems to have forgotten the issues, Also at the northern border with Republic of Sudan, the Northern Bahr el Ghazal area known as Mile 14 was invaded by Khartoum while Abyie Administrative areas remains unresolved, pressure has been mounting on Kiir’s Juba administration to take action to resolve the border issues and restore the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.