The Ugandan military has said South Sudan army spokesperson lied about the clashes that happened at the Uganda-South Sudan, in which soldiers from both sides reportedly died.
Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) deputy spokesperson, Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki, said a statement from his South Sudanese counterpart Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, dated October 29, was false.
“The statement is completely false and a deliberate misrepresentation of what actually happened. What happened is regrettable and can be avoided through mutual condemnation and decisive action against the remnant errant elements who on their own frolic, made this incursion into Ugandan territory ostensibly for the unofficial and individual criminal ends of extorting and robbing the Ugandan public,” Akiiki explained.
Akiiki says that on October 27, 2020, at around 13:00hrs, SSPDF troops of about a platoon (36) size established an illegal roadblock and an ambush at Ted-Nagwe (Atwila) in Pangira sub-county, Lamwo district several kilometers inside Ugandan territory for unknown reasons.
He said that on receiving this information from the local residents, the UPDF deployment in the area of Ngomoromo moved to Ted Nagwe on a fact-finding mission.
“While approaching the spot where the illegal roadblock was, one SSPDF soldier was spotted and the UPDF commander approached him for an explanation. While interacting with him, the rest came from the ambush and instantly opened fire towards the UPDF troops,” Akiiki stated.
“It is within the means of the leadership of both the UPDF and SSPDF to address and put this matter to rest. The continued incursions onto Ugandan territory by South Sudanese armed elements, present a challenge not only to the border communities but to the brotherly relations between the two countries,” Akiiki said.
In his statement, the South Sudanese army spokesperson (Maj. Gen. Koang) accused the UPDF mechanised unit of making an incursion in the South Sudanese territory.
Koang claimed that the UPDF, armed with heavy artillery pieces and light military trucks mounted with 12.7mm machine guns, launched a cross border attack on their defensive border outpost at Pogee in Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria State.
“A South Sudanese Defence Forces squad sized force heroically fought to protect [the] territorial integrity of our beloved country. However, that small force was outnumbered, outgunned and temporarily, was forced to retreat,” Koang stated.
He said that a counterattack codenamed ‘Operation Restore Territorial Integrity of the Republic of South Sudan’ was launched to flush out mechanised units of UPDF, adding that they have since regained full control of Pogee, reinforced and strengthened their defensive postures along the Uganda-South Sudanese border.