Congolese Nationals Continue Flocking Into Uganda Despite Border Closure

By Leilah Bbaale

Refugees during a community dialogue organised by Spice FM in Rwenyawawa village.

Congolese nationals have continued flocking Uganda through Lake Albert despite the border closure. In March last year, President, Yoweri Museveni closed Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC as part of the measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A joint security team comprising Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF, Marine Police and Uganda Police Force-UPF has maintained presence on the borderline in Hoima, Buliisa, Kagadi, and Kikuube districts to prevent the Congolese nationals from entering Uganda.

Despite the security presence along the Lake Albert shores, Congolese have continued entering Uganda. The Congolese come to Uganda to engage in transact business, fishing and farming among other things.

Julius Hakiza, the Albertine Region Police Spokesperson, says intelligence reports show that many Congolese entered Uganda illegally through the porous borders in January and February.

He says that most of the Congolese cross into Uganda under the cover of darkness and land on ungazetted landing sites, which makes it difficult for security to pursue them.

Hakiza appeals to local leaders along the shores of Lake Albert to cooperate with security to control the Uganda-DRC border and also avail them information about the entry of the Congolese in their areas of jurisdiction.

He says they don’t have sufficient manpower to guard all landing sites in the Albertine but they can work effectively with local leaders.

James Mugenyi Mulindabura, the Kigorobya sub-county LC 5 Councilor in Hoima district faults security for conniving with some Congolese businessmen to allow them to enter and leave the country at their will.

He wants the security personnel investigated and appropriate action taken against them for allowing Congolese to enter the country amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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