SECURITY in the border towns of Butogota, Buhoma, Kayonza and Kirima in Kanungu has been beefed up to reassure both civilians and tourists following an attack by Congo-based gunmen on Thursday.
The border town, which was raided by suspected Interahamwe, Rwandan militias responsible for the 1994 genocide, is within Bwindi Impenetrable Park, famous for mountain gorilla tracking. It is less than one kilometre from Buhoma, where Interahamwe killed eight American and British tourists in March 1999.
â€œI have received a message instructing more deployment and strengthening of security and intelligence gathering,â€ the director of intelligence in the Land Forces, Maj. Caesar Buhwezi, told Saturday Vision yesterday.
Three people were killed and one seriously injured by the assailants, who held the small border town under siege for several hours.
There is no army detachment in the area except the regular Police who are thin on the ground. When security minister Amama Mbabazi visited Butogota town on Thursday, he found the area Police post deserted.
District officials had to run around to find out who should be manning the post. Three LDUs eventually showed up.
â€œThese people (attackers) have been here many times,â€ the area LC3 chief Sam Karibwende said. He named the areas attacked as Kirehe, Mishasha, Kihembe, Kyabuyorwa, Kyeshero and Kashenyi. He said no culprit had been arrested by the Congolese government.
Another area resident said for the four years he had been in the district, Congolese had been crossing the borders unhindered while others had acquired property. â€œIt is like we are in a vacuum where everybody can walk in and out at will,â€ he complained.
The chairperson LC5, Josephine Kasya, called for the deployment of soldiers at the border to stop the incursions. She suspected that some people in the town had given information to the attackers by mobile phone, since they share the same network.
She also attributed the problem to the absence of an immigration post to control the movement of people.
â€œWhen we made a joint operation, we found many Congolese without work permits here,â€ Kasya said.
Security tightened in Kanungu after raid