When contacted, Capt. Lawrence Draku, the public relations officer of UPDF 5th infantry division said he was not aware of the alleged recruitment exercise
Kitgum district authorities have warned residents against alleged recruitment of youth into rebel ranks in the neighbouring South Sudan.
LC5 chairman, Jackson Omona, said Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) informed them about this alleged recruitment.
“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,” he said, at a press briefing on Tuesday.
The resident district commissioner (RDC), William Komakech who also addressed the same media conference, said the 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 said.
The leaders said the alleged recruitment was a “dangerous precedent which the community needs to be aware of and alert”.
They cautioned the youth to desist from such temptations to engage in illegal activities.
They were, however, unable to state how many youth were so far recruited or if the alleged recruitment was taking place in other districts also bordering South Sudan other than Kitgum.
But when contacted, Capt. Lawrence Draku, the public relations officer UPDF 5th Infantry Division based at Achol-pii in Pader district, 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,” Capt. Draku said over phone on Thursday, referring New Vision to the army and defence spokesperson. However, getting a comment from Kampala was not possible by the time of filing this report.
In a related development, the RDC and LC5 also cautioned residents in Kitgum in particular and other Ugandans in general against returning for work or business to the still volatile South Sudan.
"Even if some people deceive you that you will get jobs and earn in dollars, first seek clarification whether where you are going is safe. South Sudan is currently unsafe, that is why they are fleeing their country into refugee settlements here,” Komakech said.
Their warning comes in the wake of a Ugandan driver who was gunned down on Monday at Torit in Southern Sudan. Sources said unknown assailants grabbed Kenneth Kilenga from his vehicle and shot him at point blank, killing him instantly.
The deceased, had in the past reportedly worked there with Caritas, a humanitarian organization, but it was not immediately clear if he was still their employee at the time of his gruesome death.
Kilenga is to be buried at his ancestral home in Pajimo, Labongo Akwang sub-county in Kitgum.