Ugandan security forces in Kitgum and Amuru districts in the northern part of the country have raised a security red flag following a new trend in the areas. Security officials allege that the conflict in South Sudan is helping to arm criminal groups who smuggle illegal weapons into Uganda through the porous border points of Elegu in Amuru District and Ngomoromo, Aweno-Olwiyo and Waligo, all in Lamwo District.
The weapons are later used by local gangs to rob and kill residents and the same has been confirmed after most of the guns recovered used in a variety of crimes have been traced back to South Sudan. Additionally, the weapons have also been used by the criminals o attacks against the police and as such the porous border is causing great harm to the stability of the region.
A network of the black market sale of weapons has been uncovered where the guns are bought in South Sudan at Shs50,000 before being sold to members of the criminal gangs in Uganda at Shs150,000.
In January this year, police officers at Elegu border point intercepted Flavia Akech, 42, crossing to Uganda from South Sudan with an assortment of explosives including 17 hand grenades, 13 magazines of semi-automatic guns, 16 grenade fuses, 569 loose ammunition, 145 PK ammunition in the chain and 348 PK loose ammunition.
Since the crisis in South Sudan, a steady rise of gun-involved crimes, robberies, and homicides has been observed. Covert operations have been launched in Lamwo Refugee Settlement to ensure that rogue elements of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO) soldiers sneaking in as refugees are arrested.