Border dispute Tensions between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have risen following the takeover of three Ugandan villages in the frontier town of Padea, West Nile Sub-region by Congolese police.
The villages being claimed by the Congolese are Acu Cell, in Jupadindu Ward of Padea Town Council; Acu Village in Asina Parish Abanga Sub-county and Oyaro Village in Asina Parish — all in Zombo District.
Concern over such incursions by Congolese security forces into Uganda has persisted in some West Nile regions. Additionally, they have developed into a source of unrest, which has a negative impact on trade between the two nations.
In an effort to temporarily alleviate the tension, Area Resident District Commissioner Lt Col (rtd) Pius Alitema told the this website that his office has planned a meeting with Congolese security from Mahagi Territory.
He further mentioned that Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been informed about the developing scenario and has apparently decided to raise it to a higher level.
Lt Col Alitema pleaded for observance of the international border and warned that any transgression would lead to unrest.
“We must engage our local authorities operating at the border to respect the national boundary and also maintain peace and security to promote trade and commerce. Our people should be at peace because these people all speak the same language and inter-marry. So, there is no point of rivalry,” he said.
A group of people believed to be Congolese nationals crossed the border into Uganda over the weekend.
They then started creating a blockade on the Padea-Congo route with the assistance of Congolese police from Mahagi Territory.
At a comparable event, the Congolese attempted to unilaterally extend the international border two kilometers into Uganda at the nearby town of Asina five years ago.
Before Uganda’s army intervened and broke down the barricades, relations between the people on either side of the border deteriorated.
Ugandans in the impacted border region, according to a local leader named Mr. Benjamin Ocirwoth, live in constant terror of being attacked by Congolese.
“We are not at peace because anytime we can be attacked by Congolese. If the matter is not taken seriously at the national level, the disagreement will continue to affect both business and studies of our children,” he said.
This website has learned that the most recent attempt to set up an unauthorized customs point inside of Uganda in order to extort money from traders is being driven by an unnamed Congolese clan chief.