Heavy fighting disrupts trade on Congo border
Posted Tuesday, November 5 2013 at 02:00
Kisoro- Hundreds of families were last evening relocating from their homes as fresh fighting erupted in the border town of Bunagana with DR Congo, as government forces tried to clear the last areas held by M23 rebels.
Shells fired during the fighting have fallen on both sides of the border with at least four Congolese killed and 17 injured.
The fighting disrupted business and the Primary Leaving Examination (PLE) in the border town of Kasese as missiles were fired.
Authorities say, the population from Bunagana Town and the surrounding villages has taken refuge in Kisoro Town.
Bunagana town was by last evening completely deserted.
Muramba Secondary School has been closed and the 300 students relocated to Kabandi Secondary School.
“There was a bomb blast in front of the Uganda police station at Bunagana, another hit the hill adjacent the town on Uganda side while the third landed in Kanyampiriko Village in Muramba Sub-county but no person has been injured,” said Kisoro Resident District Commissioner Hajj Ahamed Doka.
Security beefed up
Mr Doka said security has been beefed up at the border area.
The number of refugees crossing into Uganda has increased from 4,000 on Sunday to about 6,000 by yesterday afternoon. They are at Nyakabande Transit camp.
The M23 on Sunday called a ceasefire to allow the Kampala peace talks with the government to continue although fighting went on yesterday.
Troops from the DR Congo are currently in the midst of an offensive on the M23’s last holdouts.
Some 200 die-hard fighters of the rebel group have been holed up in the mountainous region bordering Uganda since their base in the town of Bunagana was seized on Wednesday.
Yesterday’s fighting saw the Congolese army drive the M23 rebels from one of the steep hilltops where they are holed up after being driven from their last stronghold in the east of the country, a senior official said.
The army has “completely conquered” the Mbuzi hilltop after pounding rebel positions in the mountainous region, the official said, as AFP journalists heard soldiers shouting “victory”.
Meanwhile African leaders met late yesterday to discuss the next steps for a major peacekeeping mission in the DR Congo.
South African President Jacob Zuma hosted the leaders from DR Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
“The meeting is a final coordinating meeting between SADC and Great Lakes countries,” said Mr Martin Rupiya, executive director of the Pretoria-based African Public Policy and Research Institute.