By Halima Athumani
KAMPALA, Uganda (AA) – Tension rose between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Monday after Kampala said four of its police officers had been killed on duty.
Ugandan State Minister Henry Okello Oryem blamed DRC security forces for the deaths.
Oryem told reporters that the killings took place on Saturday on Lake Albert, within the country’s territory: “It has now been established that these murders were committed by armed forces of the DRC-FARDC.”
He claimed that the officers’ bodies had been taken by the DRC authorities and were being held at Bunia hospital mortuary, Ituri Province.
Oryem added that the DRC’s charge d’affairs in Uganda had been summoned. There has been no official response by the DRC to the accusations.
Speaking at the same news conference, Ugandan police commander, Inspector-General Kale Kayihura, said he wanted an explanation as to why DRC soldiers were allegedly in Ugandan territory.
Uganda has intensified patrols in the area after fishermen complained that they were being robbed by their Congolese counterparts.
Kayihura said eyewitness to Saturday’s incident had reported seeing “four Congolese boats which brought the soldiers. It was an ambush or preplanned operation and they must have encircled out patrol and ultimately killed them.”
As Uganda waits for an explanation from the DRC government, Kayihura says they will carry out their own investigation into the matter.
The dead officers were identified as Sergeant Waiswa Faruk; Corporal Obala Bilal; plus Constables Ochen Moses and Isingoma Bernard.
In August 2014 Uganda and DRC signed the Ngurdoto agreement and set up a joint permanent commission to stop similar incidents. In May 2013 forces from the DRC arrested seven Ugandan policemen on patrol on Lake Albert and detained them in Kinshaha for over a year.