South Sudanese authorities are holding forty-two Ugandan nationals for allegedly cultivating illegally inside their territory.
The suspects, majorly residents of Ngmoromo village in Lokung Sub County, Lamwo district are being held at Pugee Military detachment in Ayachi County in the Eastern Equatorial State of South Sudan.
Bosco Kidega, the LC I Chairperson Ngomoromo village, says that the matter came to the limelight after some of the farmers who narrowly escaped the arrest on Monday returned to Uganda and reported to the local authorities.
He says that the farmers were found cultivating in Palwa and Ocwet villages in Ayachi County bordering Uganda and South Sudan.
The Lokung Sub County LCIII Chairperson, Joachim Opoka Ocan says upon enquiries they established that the suspects are adamant farmers who have been warned severally against going into the wilderness bordering South Sudan because of the cross-border movement restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic in vain.
Opoka says that the South Sudan authorities also accuse the suspects of importing illicit alcohol and contraband into their territory, which is fueling crime.
James Nabinson Kidega, the Lamwo Resident District Commissioner, says that it has been established that the farmers hired the said land from a South Sudan national who has since confirmed the transaction, saying negotiations are underway to have the suspects released unconditionally.
Kidega has warned farming communities along the border to desist from any cross border movement particularly when the country is under lockdown to prevent the possible spread of the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID 19).