Government of Uganda has urged the Government of Democratic Republic of Congo to refrain from using unnecessary force and action against enforcement officers deployed in Lake Albert, failure of which may call for retaliation.
The warning comes two days after armed men suspected to be soldiers of the Democratic Republic of Congo ambushed and shot dead four Uganda police officers on Lake Albert in Ntoroko District on Saturday night.
The deceased officers, who were responding to an illegal fishing incident at Mulango on the Ugandan border, have been identified as Sergeant Faruk Waiswa, Corporal Biral Opara, Constable Moses Ocen and Constable Bernard Isingoma.
The outgoing State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Okello Oryem, warned that a repeat of these incidents my compel Uganda to take self-defense measures to protect its citizens.
“Uganda regrets that similar incidents have occurred repeatedly especially where DRC forcefully arrested 7 Uganda Police on Lake Albert,” Mr Oryem said in a press briefing at Foreign Affairs ministry in Uganda’s capital Kampala.
This is the first fatal incident between Uganda and DRC security officers on Lake Albert over fishing grounds. The incident could affect the relationship between the security agencies of the two countries whose borders on the Lake Albert are still not clearly demarcated.
In the last five years, contests between Uganda and DRC on where fishing grounds lay have intensified on Lake Albert.
Nearly three years ago, on May 29, 2013, Congolese soldiers arrested five Ugandan officers, including two police constables, and three fisheries officers on the same lake.
The Congolese officials disarmed, tortured and detained them in DRC for nine months.
They were only released after President Museveni intervened during his visit to Kinshasa.