Crime & Investigation

UPDF Deploys at DRC Border After Gun Incident

Heavily-armed UPDF crack units have been deployed at the Uganda-DRC border town of Bunagana in Kisoro District after 7 guns were recovered in the area on Saturday night.

Six sub-machine guns, pharmacy PK machine gun, buy five magazines and seventy nine live bullets were intercepted by police while being loaded by a group of people in a Premio vehicle registration number UAS 978B.

The men whose identity remains a mystery took off to DRC as soon as they realised that Ugandan police officers had spotted them.

Kisoro Resident District Commissioner, Hajji Shafique Ssekandi, said the UPDF deployment at the border is aimed at beefing up security as investigations into the incident continue.

“We want to understand why guns and ammunition were being smuggled to Uganda,” said Ssekandi.

“We want to make sure that everybody entering Uganda is thoroughly checked and to react in case of any planned war,” Ssekandi told ChimpReports on Monday.

The arms saga has created unease in South Western Uganda.

About three years ago, M23 rebels fought deadly battles with DRC forces across the Bunagana border.

Some bomb shells landed in Kisoro and Rwanda, injuring several people. Thousands of refugees fled DRC to Uganda through Bunagana.


The development comes against the backdrop of claims that M23 rebels had crossed back overnight into DRC from their refuge in Uganda.

DRC government spokesman Lambert Mende was quoted by AFP as saying at least 200 former members of M23 had arrived from Uganda and took over a village in North Kivu province.

Mende said the Congolese army was fighting two battalions installed in Ishasha village “who were supposed to be in Uganda under the responsibility of that country’s authorities”.

“How could our Ugandan neighbours, with whom we are bound by very serious commitments, allow people who had been living in refugee camps to cross over — armed — into our territory?” he added.

Kinshasa said a former army general, Sultani Makenga, was leading one of the battalions.

Uganda Foreign Minister Henry Okello Oryem, reached by AFP in Kampala, strongly denied backing the M23 move across the border.


“The fact that Uganda would arm or authorise M23 rebels to be based here (in Uganda) and destabilise the DRC is the fruit of their imagination. Why would Uganda arm the M23?” he said.

Kinshasa’s central government would do well to “focus on the problems of governing its own country”, the minister added.

DRC is grappling with an internal political crisis arising from President Joseph Kabila’s delay to hand over power.

Meanwhile, Ssekandi said the UPDF deployment will not interfere with people’s businesses at the border.

Acting Kisoro District Police Commander, Jane Acan, said the impounded rifles and vehicle were taken to Kisoro Police station.

Acan further said police were hunting for the owner of the vehicle only identified as Edward, a resident of Kisoro District, and a special hire driver in Kisoro town to help in investigations.

Kisoro District Chairperson, Abel Bizimana said the gun saga underscores the insecurity in the district.

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