The border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda in Nkuringo town council, Bukimbiri constituency, has been temporarily closed by Congolese authorities, citing unspecified reasons. The closure, which started last Sunday, is causing concerns about potential food shortages among Ugandan residents near the border.
According to reports, officials from the DRC at the Bunyagaro border claim that the directive to close the border came from the Bunyagaro Chief on the Congolese side. The chief accused Ugandan residents of allowing their livestock to graze on Congolese crops and alleged violent conduct by UPDF officers against Congolese nationals. However, these allegations are unconfirmed.
The sudden closure has raised distress among residents along the Uganda-Congo border, leading to calls for government intervention. Many people in the affected areas depend on Congolese land for crop cultivation and livestock rearing. With the closure coinciding with the anticipated harvest of crops like beans, cassava, millet, and sweet potatoes, there are fears of food shortages if diplomatic issues between the two governments are not swiftly resolved.
Thomas Munyakarago, a local leader in Bunyagaro on the Congolese side, highlighted the concerns of Congolese nationals whose gardens have allegedly been damaged by Ugandan livestock. He mentioned difficulties in holding individuals accountable for fines.
Habumugisha Samuel, the Congolese Immigrations officer, stated that the reasons for the border closure are political and require intervention from higher authorities in both governments. He noted that attempts by Congolese authorities to engage their Ugandan counterparts have proven unsuccessful.
An anonymous UPDF soldier stationed in Nteko dismissed Congolese accusations, suggesting that they might be attempting to delay as they harvest crops from Ugandan gardens. Notably, the Bunyagaro border has not been officially designated as a border by both Uganda and Congo.