Uganda: Frontier Follies


August 15, 2007: With reports circulating that Congolese security personnel have been "harassing" Ugandans who are sailing on Lake Albert, the Ugandan government has advised Ugandan citizens to stay away from Rukwanzi Island. This advisory comes as Ugandan and Congolese military officials are trying to conduct a joint investigation of the August 3 shooting on Lake Albert, and calm tensions in the region. Those tensions have spawned some interesting speculation and rumors. The Congo government is supposedly concerned that Congolese opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba may use Uganda as a base for launching attacks into the Congo. That sounds far-fetched, but it is the kind of rumor that the Ugandan government could use to its advantage in negotiations over the Lake Albert incident. Officially, Congo has apologized for the Lake Albert incidents. But the Congolese government doesn't have complete control over troops and officials in the Lake Albert area.

August 11, 2007: Soldiers from the Congo had occupied a disputed island (Rukwanzi Island) in Lake Albert. The problem began on August 3 when a British geologist was killed in an attack near the island. The Congo said that its soldiers were responding to shots fired from Uganda. On August 9 the Congo admitted its soldiers were involved in the shootout. Rukwanzi Island is used as an anchorage by Congolese fisherman, but Uganda claims the island based on colonial maps. Uganda has discovered oil near Lake Albert.

August 10, 2007: The government announced that it would fund a new "consultative process" in northern Uganda in order to facilitate the peace negotiations with the Lords Resistance Army.

August 9, 2007: The army said that one of its units exchanged gunfire with a group of Pokot cattle herders near the Kenyan border. One tribesman was killed. The troops captured 15 more herders and claimed they had been involved in a series of cross-border attacks and cattle raids.

August 5, 2007: Congolese military officers returned four captured Ugandan soldiers. The Ugandans were captured on July 29 when Congolese soldiers claimed the Ugandans illegally crossed the border.




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