By Mariam Namakula
Thirty-five Congolese nationals have been repatriated by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) on the account of minor offences.
The act of diplomacy was officiated yesterday in Kasese District where the UPDF revealed that these Congolese nationals had illegally made their way to Uganda and had also started engaging in acts of illegal fishing.
Both countries share Lake Albert. However, each country is required to respect their territorial boundaries and seek permission in case one steps out of their boundaries which, according to the UPDF, has not been the case with these Congolese nationals.
“Following the presidential directive, as a team we sat down, sorted nationals with minor offences such as illegal entry to Uganda and illegal fishing gears and agreed to send them back to their country,” the UPDF said.
It added that the authorities were to also return all their legal fishing gear.
The UPDF has since been put in charge of fighting the illegal practices of fishing in Uganda.
The law enforcers, however, noted how their counterparts in Congo treated Ugandan citizens when found violating the law. These accused the Congolese authorities of harassment, asking for money and confiscating the property of Ugandan nationals.
“We have reached an agreement with our counterparts to allow citizens to be returned and charged in their respective countries in cases of minor offences,” said UPDF.
The army added that these were issues that needed to be solved diplomatically and that the two countries need to return each other’s property.