Uganda seeks talks with DRC over growing tension

UGANDAN leaders have invited their Congolese counterparts for an urgent meeting to resolve the escalating tensions concerning the disputed border island of Rukwanzi on Lake Albert. The Congolese armed forces are reportedly now occupying the disputed area and are said to be evicting Ugandans living there. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is said to be claiming the ownership of the Island, a claim Uganda has vehemently dismissed.

BY IGNATIUS SSUUNA

UGANDAN leaders have invited their Congolese counterparts for an urgent meeting to resolve the escalating tensions concerning the disputed border island of Rukwanzi on Lake Albert.

The Congolese armed forces are reportedly now occupying the disputed area and are said to be evicting Ugandans living there.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is said to be claiming the ownership of the Island, a claim Uganda has vehemently dismissed.

“We are concerned but Ugandan leaders have already invited their counterparts to resolve the matter,” Ugandan Ambassador to Rwanda, Richard Kabonero said yesterday.

He said Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kuteesa had invited his Congolese counterpart Mbusa Nyamisi for a meeting in Kampala to resolve the crisis. “He is invited in Kampala. I haven’t known the date but the meeting will be held soon,” Kabonero added.

He downplayed the growing tension between the countries, saying it will be handled through diplomatic channels.

Uganda’s Daily Monitor on Sunday quoted Bundibugyo District Chairman Jackson Bambalira saying that Congolese troops had taken over the disputed island.

Rukwanzi is located north of Ntoroko County in Bundibugyo District and sitting on the southern part of Lake Albert, Western Uganda.

On August 3, Congolese troops attacked a Ugandan barge, killing one British oil worker. It had earlier arrested four Ugandan soldiers, including a lieutenant, but handed them over to Kampala authorities days later.

 

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