MPs make plea for demarcation in contested border areas

Legislators have asked government to demarcate all borders under dispute following increases in tribal clashes among the communities.

The MPs demands follows prayers presented during matters of national importance by the West Moyo County MP, Hon. Tom Alero, during the plenary sitting of Wednesday, 17 May, 2023.

According to Alero, the Kukur of South Sudan, Madi of Uganda and the Aringa of Yumbe district have been embroiled in border conflicts, with one attacking the other, resulting in massive displacement of people.

He established that fighting over land and boundaries in Gwere West in Moyo district escalated when a group of South Sudanese attacked Goboro Parish Centre, Linyamiro and Feya among other areas, provoking a retaliation from the Ugandans who attacked the Kukur tribe also in Gwere West leading to over 100 cows being driven away towards Yumbe.

Additionally, most of the homes which were attacked and torched by the South Sudanese belong to the Aringa of Yumbe, the Kakwa of Koboko, the people of Maracha, and Terego who are settled near the border with South Sudan.

In his prayers, Alero requested government to expedite border demarcation between Uganda and South Sudan, provide relief items and food for the displaced persons, increase surveillance and protection of refugees and secure the border.

Yumbe District Woman Representative, Hon. Melsa Avako, condemned the attacks saying that over 2,000 people have been displaced and confined at Goboro Parish Centre awaiting government intervention.

She noted that lives had been lost and properties destroyed, with the community living in fear.  “The situation that we are facing is a serious disaster in the region. There is no hope for them,” she said.

Hon. Susan Amero, the District Woman Representative for Amuria recalled that in the Ninth Parliament, when they visited the border, they were held at gun point by the South Sudanese.

After narrating their ordeal to the House, Amero said money was provided for the demarcation process. However, to this date, she continues to wonder where the money was spent and tasked government to provide answers.

“We want government to come out and tell us clearly where our borders end. We were put on gun point for 45 minutes when we visited that border. The land that was given for training to the South Sudanese soldiers and they now own it,” she revealed.

Speaker Anita Among related the situation to the Tororo border conflict and asked Hon. Fredrick Angura, Tororo South MP, to inform the House on what transpired in London when the committee went to ascertain the original border documents.

Angura emphasised that the solution to border challenges internally and externally were resolved by the Addis Ababa Resolution, when independence was granted to nations after the partitioning of the continent and that there was an agreement that there would be no demarcation of borders internally or eternally.

He continued: “Any border issue that is being contested has a solution. When we went to London all the documents were available, both internally and externally. The original documents are there, even for those before colonialism. We are only waiting for the report from the President,” he said.

The Third Deputy Prime Minister and Minister without Portfolio, Hon. Rukia Nakadama, responded that she would ascertain the availability of food from the stores and ensure that they are provided to the people in need and pledged to find a solution to the border conflict.  

She, however, guided that some security issues could not be discussed in the House but tasked the Ministry of Internal Affairs to handle the situation.