file photo of former sspdf chief
file photo of former sspdf chief

Amuru, 16 Oct.2021; This publication has learned from the reliable sources within the UPDF secret services that it had been for sometimes now arresting and deporting of south Sudanese nationals in Uganda suspected to be fighters of the National Salvation Front/NAS. The sources confirmed that the latest two South Sudanese nationals with refugee status in Uganda have since been handed over to National Security Services officers at the Nimule-Elegu border crossing.

The reliable sources who asked their identities to be protected to avoid arrest and reprisals against their lives revealed that the secret arrest and deportation are being carried by The Uganda People‚Äôs Defense Forces [UPDF] with the order from Juba, and the suspects have been handed over to South Sudan People Defense Forces at Nimule border crossing and since then the suspected have been taken to secret torture chambers in Juba.  

According to the sources, the two high-profile suspects are Victor Batal in his mid-40s and Augustine Yakal who is believed to be in his 20s, both are suspected members of the NAS group led by former SPLA deputy chief of staff, Lt General Thomas Cirilo Swaka. 

The two were handed over to the SSPDF at the Elegu border in Amuru District. 

Victor Batal was arrested in Koboko in 2020, at the time West Nile police spokeswoman Joseph Angucia said he was arrested as a suspect of SPLA-IO who infiltrated illegally into Ugandan soil since then nothing has been heard about his whereabouts. 

While the second suspect Augustine Yakal was said to have been picked from Busia Eastern Uganda, and he was suspected to be a member of NAS, though it wasn't clear how  someone who hold refugee status and has lived in Uganda without going back to South Sudan for the last four years be regarded as a rebel, arrested and be handover to cruel militia of Kiir only to be killed?  

Meanwhile, the UPDF 4th Division commander, Brig. Gen Bonny Bamwisike lauded the arrest and deportation of South Sudanese nationals who hold refugee status in Uganda as a sign of peace and security and a good diplomatic gesture between the two sisterly countries. 

It is, however, believed Uganda is now taking revenge on the people Juba suspected who have been involved in a violent attack on the busiest Juba-Nimule live-saving highway which killed several foreign truck drivers, though the act of robbing and killing of foreign truck drivers was in most cases done with the foot soldiers of Kiir stationed along the highway to accord security and protection to the road users. Given that they have been working without salaries the protecting forces have turned in the doing dubious dirty job of killing, robbing, and burning down trucks along the Juba-Nimule highway. 

In August 2021, SSPDF blamed the National Salvation Front /NAS the holdout rebel outfit led by Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka for carrying a number of attacks on Juba- Nimule highway that left several deaths including the two Catholic nuns, sister Regina Roba and Sister Mary Abut.  

Since then, Juba has been lobbying secretly for Ugandan security to arrest and deport people whom Juba has suspected to have a link with Gen Thomas Cirilo.  

According to our informants within the UPDF, more suspects will be apprehended and deport to Nimule in the coming days 

In August after the incident that led to the death of the two catholic sisters, Juba has intensified its call for the regional bloc of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development /GAD to exert and take the lead in warning NAS that crime against humanity carried with an armed organization with a political objective with targeting innocent civilians shouldn't go unpunished. 

Opio Okello Onen 


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