February 22, 2013

Uganda Army Deployed at the Border as Congo Rebels Fight

Chief of Defence Forces General Aronda Nyakairima
Chief of Defence Forces General Aronda Nyakairima

The Ugandan army has deployed heavily at the border with Democratic Republic of Congo in Kanungu district following renewed fighting between the Mai Mai militia and M23 rebels.

The Mai Mai and M23 are fighting for control of the borderline which has been inhabited by the former before and who are now saying that the M23 rebels should not displace them from their ancestral land.

Ugandans living close to DRC borer in Kihembe, Butogota and Nyanga areas told Uganda Radio Network that they have been hearing loud explosions across the border although they are not affected.

The UPDF 2nd Division spokesman Lt Ninsiima Rwemijuma, however, told URN the deployment of more forces along the border is routine exercise for the army and there was nothing unusual.

But Lt. Ninsima noted that the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) is aware of the violence across the border and the army has to be on guard in case it spills over.

The deployments which started on Thursday also come at a time of increased insecurity with unidentified armed thugs reportedly   terrorizing areas close to the border with DR Congo. The latest incident was on Tuesday this week, when a lone gunman entered an office in Ishasha sector Camp of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kanungu district and shot dead the Uganda Wildlife Authority accountant, Angel Kobusheshe.

Another reliable security source told URN that armed men were recently arrested near Butogota town, a few kilometers from the border with Congo and are believed to be Ugandans who had been recruited in the rebel ranks in Congo.

Efforts to establish the identities of the two men were futile as the security officials in the area said it would jeopardize investigations.

Another group of Congolese believed to be Mai Mai militias were last week denied entry into Uganda and those who had crossed the border were handed back to the Congolese authorities at Ishasha after they refused to be treated as refugees.

Kanungu Deputy Resident District Commissioner Jjuuko Kasiita says that following a series of armed attacks on civilian targets in the district, it was necessary to deploy in the district and along the common border to ensure that those behind the attacks are brought to book.

Meanwhile more Congolese nationals continue to flee their homes to seek refuge in Uganda through Kyeshero and Ishasha border points.

The RDC told URN the Congolese had not entered Uganda since December last year but for the last two weeks they have been coming in big numbers. Many of them were taken to Matanda Refugee Reception  center in Kihiihi sub county awaiting to be taken to Rwamwanja in Kamwenge district

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