Ugandan soldiers clash with suspected Rwanda troops

Kampala- Uganda (PANA) -- The Uganda army has clashed with soldiers suspected to be members of the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF), who where crossing into restive eastern DR Congo.
Ugandan army spokesman, Maj.
Shaban Bantariza confirmed the clash Monday, saying, "We battled a roaming force for some good hours and they sustained injuries.
We managed to capture four SMGs (sub-machine guns) and unspecified amount of ammunition".
"They were roaming into our territory in the district of Kisoro.
We are still verifying whether they were Rwandan troops or Congolese rebels of the RCD-Goma," Bantariza said.
RCD-Goma is a Rwanda-backed Congolese rebel group.
The battle occurred at Uganda's remote border post of Bunagana, a porous point where Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo, locked in perennial hostilities, share a common border.
Last week, the UPDF deployed troops along Uganda's border with DR Congo to prevent incursions by 'negative elements' based in Congo.
Ugandan troops were deployed a day after intelligent reports indicated that Rwandan troops had crossed into DR Congo.
Relations between Rwanda and Uganda have recently been strained by claims that Ugandan dissidents of the Peoples Redemption Army (PRA) are trained in Rwanda, an allegation Kigali denies.
Local authorities contacted on telephone in Kisoro gave proof to the clash saying it caused an immediate influx of hundreds of Congolese refugees, who were by Sunday evening, camped at Bunagana primary school.
Kisoro district civic leaders also claimed that hundreds of heavily armed soldiers have been crossing Bunagana border from the Rwanda side into DR Congo since last week.
A source at Kisoro Police said that the "strange troops" first encountered Ugandan Administrative Police Patrol and "refused to identify themselves".
Rwanda has denied deploying troops in DR Congo despite the UN monitor body MONUC stepping its allegations with mounting evidence of Rwandan troops in DRC, which prompted the European Union last Friday to condemned Rwanda's unilateral action of deploying troops in Congo.
Nevertheless, Kigali has repeatedly vowed to launch attacks aimed at neutralising Hutu rebel fighters -- part of the remnants behind the horrific 1994 genocide -- with rear bases in the vast DR Congo, since the UN peacekeepers and DRC failed to disarm them.
Uganda and Rwanda armies have fought each other inside DR Congo thrice 1999, about three-years after breaking their alliance that invaded and ousted Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

06 december 2004 13:29:00




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