Oct 29, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — A controversial gunfire at South Sudan-Ugandan border has seen two South Sudanese soldiers killed and one other soldier captured in action.
The incident happened at 1pm on Tuesday, October 27th, 2020 at Pogee of Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria State, according to South Sudan’s military sources.
Briefing the media through a statement, the Military Spokesman of South Sudan army, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, confirmed that the Uganda People Defense forces killed two South Sudan People Defense forces (SSPDF) officers and captured one on Tuesday after a clash at the border.
“On October 27th, 2020, at about 1 PM, a mechanized Unit of Ugandan People’s Defense Forces made a major incursion into our country. UPDF armed with heavy artillery pieces and light military trucks mounted with 12.7 mm machine guns launched across border attack on own Defensive Border Outpost at Pogee in Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria State.” Said South Sudan’s SSPDF spokesman Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang said.
Maj Gen. Lul added that the UPDF captured the SSPDF military barack at Pogee and collected two bodies of SSPDF soldiers and one soldier that they captured.
According to the UPDF spokesperson, Brigadier General Flavia Byekwaso, the problem started when South Sudanese army entered Uganda on a motorbike and started harassing people, however, Byekwaso’s deputy has a slightly different story.
“The people called the army and when the army tried to talk to them these guys just opened fire causing an exchange because the Ugandan side also opened fire,” Said the UPDF spokesman, Brig. Gen. Flavia Byekwaso.
Speaking by phone to VOA from Uganda’s Lwengo district on Wednesday, the Ugandan deputy defense spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Deo Akiiki acknowledged that UPDF soldiers had killed two people, but insisted that the incident occurred inside Uganda after some unknown gunmen set up roadblocks within Ugandan borders.
“There are some unknown armed people who erected a roadblock inside Uganda on our border with South Sudan. We sent there our patriots to crosscheck who these people could be, only to be returned with fire,” Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki told the VOA.
Local residents, who spoke to media, also presented a different view that blames the UPDF for encroaching South Sudan borders with intention to exploit South Sudanese resources.
According to Achire Dickson, a youth leader from the area, the Ugandan forces gain access with intention to displace local population to be able to explore resources inside South Sudan.
“What we know is that the UPDF and Uganda citizen want to push us out so that they can be cutting timbers and that is exactly what they are doing” Achire said.
“They (UPDF) want to push our soldier out so that they carry on with cutting timbers, it has always been happening,” he added.
Achire further alleged that Uganda has launched a big sugar plantation inside South Sudan territory.
The youth leader also claims that the Ugandan army has been illegally mining gold in their areas adding that the Corona Pandemic has given them a chance.
John Ochan Bongomin, the area member of parliament acknowledged being in the knowhow adding that they are following up on the issue.
“Yes, I was informed although I don’t have the details I was informed that an incident occurred in Ngomoromo, there might have been a misunderstanding between our forces and the forces of Uganda at the border but somebody has gone this morning and he will inform me later about the details of what has happened,” he said.
South Sudan military spokesman has said on his social medai page that “remains of Fallen servicemen [have] received”.
“SSPDF GHQs takes this opportunity to inform the people of South Sudan that the remains of fallen Servicemen martyred at Battle of Pogee were received from representatives of UPDF late in the evening.” Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang said.
“Own Serviceman who was captured also returned in good health.Two of three personal assault rifles deceased has had were received in good condition except third that was partly damaged as a result of fatal shot that was delivered by invading forces.” Lul added.
According to Lul Ruai, the South Sudan army is planning to burry the fallen soldiers in a more dignified burials
“Plans are at advanced stages for SSPDF’s 7th Infantry Division to give dignified burial to fallen comrades.” Lul said.