Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) have increased their presence along its border with DR Congo (DRC) following an incident in which a Ugandan soldier was killed.
UPDF soldiers were sailing on Lake Edward conducting routine patrol of the lake that is shared by Uganda and DRC.
The UPDF soldiers reportedly encountered an armed group which opened fire on the marine patrol team.
“The unknown group opened fire on our team and our team fired back. We managed to repulse the attackers” said Capt Steven Tumwesige, the UPDF western Uganda spokesperson on Friday.
The Ugandan army suspects the attackers to have come from DRC.
UPDF has stepped up its troops to oversee Lake Edward, Lake Albert and the surrounding areas, Mr Tumwesige said.
The UPDF spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire confirmed the incident.
He said the boat which was on routine patrol was on Thursday attacked by unknown gunmen off Rwenshama on Lake Albert using a grenade.
“One UPDF soldier was killed and another was injured. Patrols have now been stepped up as investigations to identify the perpetrators continue,” Karemire said.
Uganda and DRC share Lakes Edward and Lake Albert. But there have been common incidents of fights and skirmishes over the two share water resources.
In January this year, an armed group suspected to be from DRC attacked Ugandan fishermen on Lake Albert near Nsonga landing.
Witnesses have told police that the group of about ten men robbed the fishermen at gunpoint.
They allegedly confiscated from them fishing gears, mobile phones, boat engines and fish worth millions of shillings. The Albertine regional police spokesperson, Mr Julius Hakixza said the fisherman, one Omirambe who had refused to surrender his fishing gears was pushed into the water and he died instantly.
A general inquiry file CRB 378/2017 was opened at Hoima central police station to investigate the incident.
Fights, accusations and abductions are common on Lake Albert where Congolese authorities repeatedly accuse Ugandan fishermen of trespassing in their territory.
On April 19, four Ugandan fishermen were abducted by suspected Congolese
soldiers on Lake Albert in western Uganda. They were later released after diplomatic negotiations between Uganda and DRC authorities.
In May 2016,a suspected Congolese armed group attacked Ugandan policemen who were patrolling Lake Albert and killed three policemen who included Police constable Moses Ochen, Police constable Bernard Isingoma, Sgt Mazafaru Waiswa and the Police’s marine coxswain Corporal Biral Obara who was driving the boat was critically injured and taken captive.
On October 22, 2012 at about 10am a group of about 20 men armed with guns stormed Nkondo landing site on October where they allegedly confiscated mobile phones and fish from Ugandan fishermen in the area.