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SPLA-IO negotiating release of food for troops impounded by Uganda

Author: Kelly Abale | Published: Friday, June 28, 2019

Oraba border town neighboring Kaya town. PHOTO: Joseph Odama

The SPLA-IO has confirmed that a truck which was on its way to deliver food to IO forces in Yei River area has been seized by the Ugandan Revenue Authority.

Early this week, the Ugandan army and the country’s revenue authority impounded a truck loaded with sacks of food.

The authority said the truck was using an illegal route in Koboko to enter into South Sudan.

Oraba border customs is the main entry point to South Sudan through Yei and Kaya towns.

The Ugandan officials said they require security clearance from Kampala to allow the truck enter South Sudan.

“Our main interest is only to check if there are ammunition being smuggled in the truck,” said Lt Ibrahim Ssekito, Public Relations Officer of the Brigade of UPDF in the area.

However, the SPLA-IO deputy spokesperson said the truck was not carrying arms. Colonel Gabriel Lam also denied claims that the truck was using an illegal route to enter into South Sudan.

“We are suprised because this is not the first time, we have been sending food to our territory using those routes they are calling illegal,” he said.

Lam further said it took them by suprise for the Ugandan official at the border to think that the SPLA-IO would still transport ammunition into the country while at the same time implementing the peace agreement with the government.

“We are surprised because this peace is guaranteed by the Uganda government, ” adding that “we are in communication with them to ensure that this food is released.”

In response, Lt Ssekito told the Ugandan Daily Monitor that they are aware that a peace agreement exists between the South Sudanese party.

He said it was not an oversight that the took the decision to impound the truck.

“For us we have no problem because once the security clears it, we shall have no problem with them. It is a security matter, because there is already an agreement signed between warring factions in South Sudan that those people use our routes. So, we are waiting for the clearance from Kampala where initial clearance was originated,” he added.

Last week, the Commander of SPLA-IO Division in Amadi state said at least 2,000 soldiers were starving due to lack of food and other supplies.

Read related story: https://www.eyeradio.org/spla-io-forces-in-amadi-reportedly-starving/

Colonel Lam says the impounded food is not meant for Yei area alone, but for its forces in several cantonment sites.

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