Uganda-DRC Border Tensions

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[Africa News Update]


Uganda’s foreign minister has disclosed that his country is discussing re-drawing the borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo to address recent disputes that have caused military skirmishes between the two countries following significant oil finds between their common borders.

The oil discoveries are in the Lake Albert region which lies on the border between Uganda and DRC.

The minister, responding to a question from a SKY Channel 194 interviewer said the demarcation would be based on “formulation of unity or scientific methods,” which in the latter case would examine the percentage of oil on each side of the boarder to determined allocations.

“A current political basis was created during the agreement between United Kingdom and Belgium, respecting Boundaries of 1915 territory marking. Uganda and Congo, had a meeting in your country in Arusha Tanzania over the same issue,” he said; the interviewer, SKY’s Ayoub Mzee is from Tanzania. Uganda was a U.K. colony and DRC a Belgian colony. 

“President Museveni and Kabila agreed to respect the principle of inviolability of borders as inherited from the colonial powers,” said Kutesa, referring to Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and DRC’s Joseph Kabila. He added that, “They also agreed to the joint re-marking, where necessary, of the international boundary between the two countries as defined in the Agreement between the United Kingdom and
Belgium Respecting Boundaries as recognized under the Charter of the African Union.”

Kutesa spoke at Chatham House, the United Kingdom’s foreign policy organization; the topic was “Africa’s Global Relevance And Uganda’s Growing Role.”

There is concern that the border clashes might re-ignite regional conflict. In a court case charging Uganda with massive human rights violations and looting of natural resources, including timber, gold, diamonds and coltan when Uganda occupied the Congo’s Ituri region from 1998 to 2003, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2005 ruled in DRC’s favor. Congo wants $10 billion in compensation from Uganda. Separately, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is now investigating alleged war crimes by Uganda-sponsored militias over the same period.

The recent border clashes between the two countries led to the death of a British oil exploration employee working on the Uganda side and deaths of Uganda and DRC troops.

Investigative reporter Miwambo writes for The Black Star News from London.

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