Amuru, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Amuru district authorities are demanding for the creation of a special security unit to curb trans boundary crimes across Uganda – South Sudan border.
Michael Lakony, the Amuru district LC V chairperson says there is an escalation of organized crimes such as livestock and motor vehicle thefts, human trafficking and smuggling among others at the Elegu border in Uganda and Nimule, the South Sudan side that threatens the peace of cross border community.
For instance in March 2021, six suspected South Sudanese rustlers stole 72 heads of cattle during a night attack on Lorikowor West village in Elegu town council and Lodijokpe in Adjumani district, and the animals have never been recovered.
Between 2018 to date, more than 300 cattle have been stolen by criminals from Amuru and neighbouring Lamwo, Kitgum and Agago, affecting the livelihoods of post-conflict households.
During the same period, a motor vehicle was stolen in 2020 from Elegu and police was able to recover it this year after several attempts to pursue the criminals. Other contrabands that include narcotic drugs and light weapons continue to be smuggled across the border.
Joseph Nsabimaana, the District Police Commander-DPC says transnational organized crimes have become an emerging threat because once suspects escape into another country, the security personnel cannot expeditiously pursue them.
Nsabimaana also explained that numerous porous border points facilitate trans boundary crimes which call for a special joint security establishment to expeditiously track the perpetrators to face justice.
Geoffrey Oceng Osborn, the Resident District Commissioner disclosed that nine porous border points have been identified, and despite security deployment, means of mobility to facilitate quick security patrol and surveillance remain an uphill task.
The Uganda Revenue Authority-URA regional manager at Elegu Ivan Kakaire, says that though they handle exports that enter South Sudan through the gazetted One-Stop Border point, there are existing ungazetted porous border points being exploited by criminals.
The UPDF Fourth Division Commander Brig. Gen. Bonny Bamwesike, noted that most criminals take advantage of the security situation in South Sudan to commit crimes in Uganda. He called for regular and intensified sensitization of the border community to detect and report crimes to authorities.
Captain Jamel Majok, the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces – SSPDF Liaison Officer welcomed the gesture that will allow the two East African countries to work closely together to ensure peace and security of the citizens.
The authorities also noted that while Interpol exists to respond to transnational crimes, they are slowed by the bureaucratic processes involved that criminals exploit to evade justice.