LAMWO– Lamwo District leaders have tasked the government to beef up security at its porous border points with volatile South Sudan.
The call follows the killing of a farmer in Lutuko Village in Lawiye-Oduny Parish, Madi-Opei Sub-county on Sunday by suspected armed South Sudanese cattle rustlers, who also stole six cattle.
The suspected rustlers also invaded Agoro Sub-county on Monday night and allegedly stole another eight cows from local farmers before fleeing.
Madi-Opei and Agoro sub-counties bordering South Sudan have over the years been invaded by armed South Sudanese rustlers and more than 250 goats and cattle have been looted in the area since 2017.
The Agoro Sub-county chairperson, Mr Denis Onyon, told Daily Monitor in an interview on Monday that the porous border point between the two countries has facilitated easy entry of the rustlers into Lamwo District over the years.
He also noted that limited security personnel deployed within the four border points of Aweno Olwi, Madi-Opei, Ngom Oromo and Waligo is to blame for the intrusion of the rustlers.
“Our local farmers cannot farm with ease given the fact that they may be attacked in their gardens. The rustlers are also looting cattle meant to improve livelihood and food crops from the gardens… this is a blow to food security in the area,” Mr Onyon said.
He added that the government must improve security at the border points to guarantee safety of people in a sub-region still recovering from the ravages of the two-decade Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency.
Mr Onyon said his area is relying on a handful of police’s Anti Stock Theft Unit personnel and Local Defence Unit soldiers to ensure safety of residents and their belongings.
Mr Charles Obong Okwera, the Madi-Opei Sub-county chairperson, said locals are currently living in fear following the attack and called on government to ensure tighter security at the border points.
The Uganda People’s Defence Forces Fourth Infantry Division Spokesperson, Maj Telesphor Turyamumanya, acknowledged to Daily Monitor that the borders are porous and hard to manage, but added that they are working round the clock to ensure safety of the residents.
“We have our forces on the ground and are doing great work, but the biggest challenge has been that the borders are very porous. This means sometimes a few people can sneak into our side minus our notice,” Maj Telesphor said.
He noted that although they have numerous army detaches around the border, moves to establish more have been curtailed by resistance from land owners in the district.
Maj Turyamumanya added that in a bid to offer more protection, security officials in Uganda and South Sudan are carrying joint cross border security monitoring.