Thursday, June 11, 2009

Uganda, DRC in New Border Dispute Near Oil-Rich Lake

KAMPALA 10 June 2009 Sapa-AFP


The Democratic Republic of Congo should halt putting up a border
post on a disputed territory off oil-rich Lake Albert until results
of a recent study are out, Ugandan officials said Wednesday.

"I believe this is just aggression. It is provocation. That is
the simplest way I can put it," Betty Adima, commissioner for Nebbi
district told AFP.

Nebbi borders Lake Albert, which recent findings show holds more
than a billion barrels of oil.

The site of the new Congolese outpost is in Goli, which like
much of the borderland in West Nile region, has historically been

"They have armed men guarding the building which means they know they are doing something wrong," she said.

The two neighbours had recently agreed to put on hold all
construction on contested land until they completed a joint survey
of the border.

Officials from Uganda's energy ministry conducted their study of
the area last year, but are yet to release their findings.

Ugandan army spokesman in the region, captain Peter Mugisha,
told AFP the Congolese had taken advantage of the delays of the
survey outcome.

"We told them this was not in line with what our two countries
had agreed," he said. "And yet they continue with the

Mugisha said the Congolese claimed the outpost was necessary to
control cross-border smuggling.

"That explanation is really not all that convincing," he added.

In a recent meeting with their Ugandan counterparts, Congolese
officials in the area said they did not have powers to stop the
building work, according to Mugisha.

"They explained to us that their instructions were coming from
their superiors in Kinshasa," Mugisha said.

He added that the Ugandan military was monitoring the situation,
but had not yet used force to stop the construction work.

"I think they will come to their senses," he said.

No comments: