November 22, 2017 (KAMPALA) – Authorities in the Ugandan northern district of Kitgum have warned residents against the alleged recruitment of youth into rebel ranks in South Sudan.
The practice, a local district official said, was recently brought to their attention by the Ugandan Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF).
“We have been briefed by the army that because of the situation in South Sudan, some of our young people are being lured and recruited by elements from South Sudan,” Jackson Omona, the district chairman said.
The Resident District Commissioner, William Komakech said unnamed South Sudan rebel groups were targeting jobless youth in Kitgum.
“There are some people who come and deceive you that they are recruiting you for jobs in South Sudan, yet they are recruiting you into rebel activities,” he told reporters at a press conference held in Kitgum town.
Officials cautioned youth to desist from engaging in illegal activities.
It is not as to how many youth could have been recruited in Kitgum.
However, Captain Lawrence Draku, the public relations officer of the UPDF 5th infantry division said he was not aware of the alleged recruitment exercise.
“May be the information was passed at a strategic level. I do not talk on cross-border issues,” he told the state-owned New Vision on Thursday.
UGANDA-SOUTH SUDAN RELATIONS
Uganda and South Sudan have long standing economic and security interests.
In 2013, for instance, Uganda deployed its military in South Sudan to back President Salva Kiir shortly after the war begun. Ugandan troops only withdrew after a regionally-brokered 2015 peace deal collapsed within months.
Uganda is also host to over one million refugees fleeing from the instability in South Sudan.