The majority of ambushes on Ugandan traders in South Sudan have occurred on vehicles that do not respect arrangements on the movement of convoys.
Government records show that 14 Ugandans were killed in South Sudan between May and August 2021. They include; Ali Mark Sony, Amati Stephen, Dada Abugo, Sadam Andama, Katongole Hussein, Abdu Makanga, Kuraish Mutebi, Sembusi Kato and Amono Anna Clara, among others.
But according to John Mulimba, the State Minister for Regional Co-operation, many of them were not moving in convoys, and therefore could not be protected by the South Sudan army, as agreed between the two governments.
This, he said, gives an opportunity to the attackers to strike, and asked traders to respect the guidelines for their own safety.
The governments of Uganda and South Sudan agreed to have truck drivers move with Convoy escorts and that South Sudan authorities would establish patrols in every 10-kilometre mark due to the volatile situation in the country.
Mulimba was responding to concerns raised by members of Parliament on the status of Ugandans in South Sudan. During the debate on the matter, Fort Portal Central Division MP Alex Ruhunda faulted the government for failing to issue travel advisories even when the destinations are dangerous.
But the Minister said that Ugandan security officers have advised all Ugandans not to proceed to South Sudan without security guarantees.
“This advice has been communicated to all border crossings including those transiting through Busia, Malaba, and Mutukula on the way to South Sudan, adding that the attacks are not specific to Ugandans, but other East African citizens too,” Mulimba told Parliament on Wednesday.
The minister however hastens to add that restoring security along routes from the Ugandan border points into Juba is essential to strengthening bilateral relations with South Sudan and facilitate the safe movement of persons, goods and services.
Maneno Zumura, the Obogi district MP says that the attackers have entered inside Uganda, especially in the border areas, around Adjumani, Moyo and Zombo districts, from where they are taking advantage of the porous borders to sneak guns into Uganda.
Igara West MP Gaffa Mbwatekamwa proposed that members of the Ugandan Peoples Defense forces can be asked to provide protection for the Ugandans, while the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among also questioned why investors in Uganda were being protected and the Ugandans heading to South Sudan are not.
Suzan Amero, the Amuria Woman MP says that in South Sudan no one is spared, yet in Uganda, South Sudanese are living peacefully.