Kanungu Residents Accuse Congolese Soldiers of Torture

1530 Views Kanungu, Western Region, Uganda

In short
Hope Kyaro, the Kanungu deputy speaker recently told the district council that more than 30 Ugandans have been abducted over the years by Congolese security personnel.

Ugandans occupying a disputed stretch of land bordering Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo in Kanungu district are accusing Congolese forces of harassment for illegal occupation.  The disputed stretch of landis found in Kabumba village in Mukono Parish Kayonza Sub County. 
About 100 occupy and cultivate the land stretch. The disputed land is a hilly but very fertile. According to the residents, Congolese forces strike during the planting or harvesting season. In 2001, Congolese soldiers raided the area in attempt to dislodge the Ugandans in vain.  The latest attack occurred on August 17thwhere four Ugandans were arrested by armed Congolese gunmen and were held for a week. 50-year-old John Kyali is one of the recent victims of the Congolese attacks. 
Kyali says he was picked up by the Congolese soldiers and made to walk through Kisharu,Kiwanja and Rucuro. He was released after  paying  a bribe of 500,000 shillings. According to Kyali, he watched the Congolese soldiers rape abducted Ugandan women. Proscovia Akampurira is another victim. Akampurira says despite the fact that, she was not raped she had a chance to listen to horrific stories of her colleagues who were raped by the soldiers. 
She explains that they were working in the garden harvesting millet when when Congolese soldiers armed with guns and machetes abducted them. Akampurira says the soldiers took them across the border and released them after torturing them.  Prosy Tugume also a resident of the area says they were abducted by seven armed men and released after paying a ransom of 300,000 shillings each. 
Bernard Tugabirwe, the LC I chairperson Kabumba villagesays  Congolese soldiers repeatedly raidthe area in attempt to dislodge the Ugandan families on the disputed land. HopeKyaro, the Kanungu deputy speaker recently told the district council that  more than 30 Ugandans have been abducted over the years by Congolese security personnel. She faulted the Ugandan security of failing to find a lasting solution to the problem. 
But defense spokesperson Paddy Ankunda in an earlier interview said the matter had been brought to the attention of top officials in both countries and are working out solutions.  URN was unable to get a comment from Congolese military officials. This is not the first time Ugandans are facing harassment by soldiers from a neighboring countries. 

Residents of Lefori sub county in Moyo district have repeatedly suffered raid from South Sudan soldiers who claim the sub county is inside their territory.