Kajo Keji back to business after the UPDF withdrawal

Kajo Keji back to business after the UPDF withdrawal
Phanuel Dumo, Kajo-keji County Commissioner [Photo: Courtesy]

Peace has returned to Kajo-Keji County following the withdrawal of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces from the area.

In an exclusive interview with The City Review on Thursday, Kajo Keji County Commissioner Phanuel Dumo said the UPDF left the areas voluntarily after they realised that South Sudan was only interested in maintaining peace at the borders. 

Their exit came after the governor of Central Equatoria State, Emmanuel Adil, went and met with the authorities in Yumbe district in October, where they held a cross-border peace and security meeting.

“After that, the UPDF realised that the area they occupied belonged to South Sudan. So, for that matter, they withdrew alone,” he said.

“They were not advised because we told them very seriously that we are for peace; we are not for the war,” Dumo added.

He added, “That day we were together with the commander of UPDF, and I told him that please, if you want peace to prevail in Kajo Keji, Moyo, and Yumbe, let your boys out from there peacefully,” he said, adding the roads have now been opened and the situation has normalised.

Dumo added that traders transiting goods from Uganda to South Sudan have resumed their daily routine.

On October 28, 2023, South Sudan and Uganda initiated a meeting to address the border disputes between the two neighbouring countries.

During the meeting, Governor Adil appealed to local communities to maintain their stance that the border demarcation is the responsibility of the two countries, warning individuals against taking the law into their own hands.

“The leaders gathered here should communicate and sensitize local communities to understand that the decision to demarcate the borders is the responsibility of our two national governments and has been addressed. None of us should take matters into our own hands,” he said.

 “I appeal to this gathering to engage in discussions with sobriety, in a brotherly and sisterly manner, to avoid causing harm to each other,” Adil stated.

Meanwhile, Taban Peter, the LC5 Adjumani District, stated that it was the responsibility of leaders to find solutions to communicate with communities to promote peaceful coexistence between the two countries.

“As we gather here today, it is our responsibility as leaders to chart a way forward on how we can engage with our communities to coexist peacefully and find better means of resolving differences through established structures,” Taban said.

The recent border disputes between South Sudan and Uganda were on the western part of West Nile in Uganda, specifically within the regions of West Nile, Kajo-Keji County, and Moyo and Adjumani districts of Uganda.