13 traders from Acholi sub region in Northern Uganda are demanding compensation from the South Sudan government for the loss of their merchandise early this year.
The affected traders claim to have lost the merchandise on February 22 and 23 2015 during clashes between government army SPLA soldiers and their instructors in Owiny Ki Bul, Magwi county and Eastern Equatoria state.
The traders claim to have lost merchandise ranging from clothes, solar panels, electronics, and furniture to basic household items like sugar, soap and salt among others. Now, the traders have written to the Governor Eastern Equatoria states Torit demanding for Shs 1.8bn in compensation saying they were not protected by the government during the clashes.
According to the traders, they complained to Uganda Internal Affairs Minister Gen Aronda Nyakairima who assigned officers to handle their matter but to date nothing has been done.
The traders have issued the South Sudanese government an ultimatum to compensate them by September 4 or else they seek legal redress. Martin Kidega, one of the traders says he is now stuck since he lost his stock worth over Shs 260m. Kidega says his business was flourishing since he went to South Sudan in 2005, but he suffered huge losses during the clashes. Kidega was dealing in beverages, electronics and clothing.
Joe Ojok, another trader says they tried to seek help from the commissioner of Magwi County in Eastern Equatoria State but he instead used his escorts to threaten them off.
Pamela Ankunda, the Internal Affairs Ministry spokesperson says there are very many claims by Ugandans who were trading in South Sudan who suffered losses. She says both the Uganda and South Sudanese government are working on seeing that all the traders who suffered losses are compensated at once.
She however couldn’t tell when the compensation will happen. The South Sudan ambassador to Uganda could not be reached for comment on the matter.