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UPDF Redeploys At Congo Border

By Vision Reporter

Added 16th January 2002 03:00 AM

THE UPDF has redeployed troops on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following clashes there in which Isiro town was captured.

THE UPDF has redeployed troops on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following clashes there in which Isiro town was captured.

By Emmy Allio and Albert Ayiga THE UPDF has redeployed troops on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following clashes there in which Isiro town was captured. Lorries commandeered from businessmen in Arua and Nebbi and loaded with troops crossed the border towns on Tuesday, causing panic and apprehension. The population on both sides of the border fear the demise of their booming border trade if war erupts. “The population is scared. The markets in Ariwara and Arua may collapse. We do not know what is happening,” a businessman in Arua said “The army has redeployed in the northeastern Congolese towns of Aru, Ariwara and Mahagi to sort out the confusion there which may adversely affect our border security,” the army spokesman, Major Shaban Bantariza, said yesterday. Sources said last week several UPDF soldiers were killed in an attack by the Lendu around Kobu. The Lendu and Gegere ethnic groups accuse the UPDF and RCD-Kisangani administration of siding with their foes, the Hema, with whom they are fighting over land. Early this month, Jean Pierre Bemba’s Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) repulsed an attack on his forces in Bambesa by Mbusa Nyamwisi’s RCD-Kisangani forces. Sources said Bemba later backed Roger Lumbala, the leader of the little-known Uganda-backed RCD-National Congolese rebel group to capture Isiro and Watsa, towns known for gold trade. “Why should UPDF always deploy to fight on the side of Mbusa Nyamwisi to fight the Congolese who do not want Mbusa?” Lumbala asked on satellite phone yesterday. Bantariza said, “As far as the army is concerned, Watsa or Isiro fall under RCD-Kisangani led by Mbusa Nyamwisi. This is also a fact as per the Lusaka agreement. Who is Lumbala anyway?” He said the UPDF will repulse any Lumbala attack or stop his further expansion. But sources said the UPDF were determined to kick out Lumbala forces from Watsa and Isiro. Last Sunday the UPDF redeployed in Butembo to fight the Mai Mai militias who had kicked out Mbusa’s RCD-Kisangani forces from the populous town. Ends

UPDF Redeploys At Congo Border

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