Moyo- The UPDF yesterday massed up troops at the border with South Sudan and heightened surveillance, a day after a Ugandan soldier was killed during a raid by gunmen from across the border.
Pte Ibrahim Congo, attached to Gbari army detach, died of gunshot wounds sustained in shoot-out with the armed men who drove away more than 800 cattle, both the military and police said.
“It is unfortunate that one of our soldiers got injured and died after during the time they were pursing the militias. We shall keep on the alert and civilians should alert us in time so that we react in time,” Maj Teresphor Tuhame, the UPDF 4th Division spokesperson, said.
Initial reports suggested that the raiders succeeded because Uganda’s security deployment was lax and reinforcement delayed for few troops who were pursuing the invaders.
“We responded to recover the stolen animals but unfortunately, because of distance and lack of telecommunication network, we did not recover the animals. We exchanged bullets with the cattle rustlers and their number was more,” Mr Denis Ocircan, the officer-in-charge of Moyo Central Police station, said.
Some of the attackers during the raid on Padiga North Village in Metu Sub-county, Moyo District, wore military fatigues.
The attackers are believed to be militias, Maj Tuhame said, but their actual identity could not be established by press time.
An injured Pte Congo received first aid from colleagues after being shot, but he died before evacuation.
The porous border has made infiltration by armed group easy, resulting in proliferation of small arms.
The raid on Sunday yesterday prompted an emergency cross-border meeting between government officials eager to secure a peaceful resolution to the violation of Uganda’s territorial integrity.
The district chairman, Mr Williams Anyama, said “it is sad that these attacks are at a time when the army detach has been established at Gbari, but the the soldiers are few”.
Two weeks ago, gunmen from South Sudan made an incursion into Uganda and stole 200 cattle at Gbari in Lefori Sub-county, which is also a flash point of a border dispute. In 2009, President Museveni and his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir met in Moyo and visited the contested border areas that Juba claims.