Tension As Uganda, DRC Clash Over Border Post

Tension is still high between Ugandan government authorities in Zombo district and their Congolese counterparts in Mahagi following the decision by DRC to move its border post close to Uganda.

It all started about two weeks ago after the Congolese custom officials relocated their border post from Sisi, about 400 meters away close to Uganda. As a result, both countries deployed heavily around the border area, forcing some residents to flee for fear of clashes. The situation is yet to return to normal because of suspicion from leaders on both sides of the border.

Emmy Kakura, the Zombo District LC V chairperson explains that they had a standing agreement with their Congolese counterparts, which requires officials on both sides to hold consultation before any key decisions are made. He says they reached the agreement after a group of Congolese soldiers crossed into Uganda in June and assaulted residents claiming that they were illegally operating inside DRC territory.  Kakura says the heavy deployment on both sides of the border has caused panic amongst residents. Rasul Aluma, the Zombo Resident District Commissioner has condemned the action by the Congolese officials describing it as provocation.

He wants the Congolese administrators in Mahagi to relocate the border post to its former position. However, the administrators of Mahagi claimed they were prompted to relocate the border post after more than 300 Ugandan soldiers invaded Sisi village in Orientale Province on August 25th.

Richard Muyej, the Mahagi based Congolese Interior Minister says they have decided to engage the foreign affairs ministry in Uganda because the local officials in Zombo district are biased. He however, says the situation is calm despite the heavy deployment.

Jean Bosco Ngamubiem Essese, the administrator of Mahagi territory says the land occupied by the border post is within their territorial boundary.

This is not the first time Ugandan and Congolese authorities are clashing over the relocation of a border posts. Last year, Ugandan customs officials at Vvura in Arua district rose up in arms after Congolese administrators abruptly moved Aru border post about 100 meters close to Uganda.

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