The Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) has intercepted an armed South Sudanese soldier found roaming inside Uganda’s territorial boundaries.
UPDF soldiers attached to Bana Bana military detach in Madiopei sub-county, Lamwo district intercepted Lance Corporal James Onyango on Saturday last week. The suspect, who was found roaming with an AK-47 assault rifle and 59 rounds of ammunition, is attached to the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) Lion battalion.
He reportedly got lost from his unit. James Nabinson Kidega, the Lamwo Resident District Commissioner (RDC) confirmed Onyango detention. Kidega says Onyango who only speaks Arabic was first detained at Bana Bana Barracks and later transferred to Padibe Police Station.
Kidega said that the soldier was spotted by civilians in the jungles of Ngomoromo in Lokung sub-county before he crossed to the neighbouring Paloga sub-county heading to Agoro, which borders South Sudan.
Onyango was reportedly trailed by UPDF for two days before he was rounded up. He becomes the second armed South Sudanese national to be arrested in the country in less than four months. In December 2018, an armed local singer, Grace Samuel Rom alias Wajarasi was arrested by UPDF after straying into Uganda to carry out illegal poaching.
He was nabbed with two dead antelopes and was remanded to Gulu Central prison. According to Kidega, investigations are still ongoing to ascertain what exactly caused Onyango to stray into Uganda’s territory armed. Local authorities note that the porous Uganda-South Sudan border has facilitated cross border crime that requires extra security vigilance.