South Sudan has no plans to have Uganda’s national, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) deployed along Juba-Nimule highway to tackle security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has said.
Deng Dau Deng, deputy foreign affairs minister, says South Sudan has not reached any agreement with Uganda for a joint security escort on the Juba-Nimule Highway.
Last week, Ugandan media reported that the two governments had reached an agreement to deploy joint security forces between the SSPDF and UDF to secure travelers and truck drivers.
The purported agreement is an effort to put an end to the continuous killing of truck drivers transporting goods to South Sudan.
However, Mr. Dau reiterated that South Sudan is a sovereign country that cannot have foreign forces patrol its territory.
“There is no agreement, the government of South Sudan of course as sovereign it has the responsibility within the territory of the Republic of South Sudan to protect live and properties of the citizens,” Dau continued.
“The issue of the escort, patrol and safety of drivers has been considered by the government and the teams have been stationed for the last three weeks.”
The deputy minister explained that South Sudan doesn’t need UPDF help since the government have beef up the security along Juba-Nimule highway after the killing of two Catholic sisters.
“Since the killing of two nuns the government has beefed up the security and has increased the forces,” he stated.
“We have no such a kind of agreement but of course UPDF has the responsibility to protect if there’s anything in the side of Uganda, but SSPDF and other organs have the responsibility to protect the drivers and to give escort.”
Deng Dau however says, his ministry is meeting with the Ugandan and Kenyan diplomats in Juba.
He stated that the meeting is aimed at finding an amicable solution for the truck drivers.
“We had a meeting with ambassadors from Kenya, Uganda and Somalia because these are our sisterly countries and most of the drivers comes from those countries and reaffirmed or reassure the ambassadors that there are steps taken by the government.
“We will travel with our team to Nimule and to discuss with drivers and transporters to give them reassurance as the resident ambassadors of those countries reside in South Sudan.”