Ugandan and war-torn South Sudan police have set up a task force to track down 22 Ugandans reportedly abducted by rebels in South Sudan and prevent more kidnappings.
The decision to deploy a joint security squad along the road connecting the South Sudan border town of Nimule to the capital of Juba according to Uganda police spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi, come after suspected rebel groups have been demanding ransoms for the release of Ugandans captured during ambushes since the summer.
“The operations take immediate effect. We have put up a mechanism that the South Sudan Police will be escorting buses coming to and from [the Ugandan capital of] Kampala and Juba,” Kaweesi confirmed to Anadolu Agency.
The Nimule-Juba Highway has been a dangerous road, especially for Ugandan traders who had started returning to South Sudan following the new outbreak of violence in July.
“As Uganda, we shall place a liaison officer on both sides to monitor the situation, but South Sudan shall deploy at the flash points where these ambushes have been occurring,” added Kaweesi.
In a meeting in Kampala between Uganda’s police chief Kale Kayihura and his South Sudanese counterpart Makur Maruol, it was noted that a total of 41 Ugandans were reportedly captured aboard buses and along border districts by a rebel group loyal to former First Vice President Riek Machar, according to Kaweesi
Eight were released after a ransom was paid and 11 escaped, leaving 22, said Kaweesi
Machar was hospitalized in Khartoum in August after he fled South Sudan, where widespread clashes were breaking out between rivals in its civil war.
The rebel leader declared that he would will work to bring down the government of President Salva Kiir.