Uganda: Oil War


June 12, 2009: The government asked Congo to quit work on a border post located on disputed territory near Lake Albert. Both countries have oil exploration and development projects in the area. The oil basin in the Lake Albert regional contains at least a billion barrels in recoverable reserves and perhaps more. The Congolese post is just outside of Goli, a Ugandan town in Nebbi district (West Nile Province). Uganda and Congo have several border disputes and the Ugandan and Congolese governments are publicly committed to resolving the disputes peacefully. The latest incident, however, the government calls a "provocation" that violates the agreement to resolve the economic and geographic demarcation issue peacefully. In fact, a joint survey is currently underway. Congolese border police say the new manned post is necessary to stop smuggling. In general, if a watershed leads to the Nile, that area belongs to Uganda. If it leads to the Congo River (west), the area is Congolese. There are many areas where it's tough to determine the watershed with precision. If you're watering bananas, this is one kind of problem. If you are dividing rights to a huge oil reservoir, billions (over twenty billion to the winning government) of dollars are involved.

June 10, 2009: UN sources and Congolese administrators report another series of attacks by Lords Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in northeastern Congo. Several villages in Orientale Province (Dungu region) were "burned and looted." The LRA cadres are trying to do several things. The first is supply themselves and that means stealing food. The second is to intimidate Congolese civilians so thoroughly they will no longer be an intelligence source for Congolese, UN, and Ugandan forces. During the Uganda-Congo-South Sudan combined offensive in December 2008, Congolese civilians provided good intelligence about LRA movements as the LRA cadres fled Garamba National Park (Congo).

June 7, 2009: The Uganda Army (UPDF) and national police reported more violence in Moroto district (eastern Uganda, near the Kenya-Uganda border). This is Karamojong tribal country and is primarily a cattle-herding (pastoralist) area. Over the last ten year the Karamojong have presented the government with a number of problems. One was a love of AK-47s and the tendency to use them to resolve tribal disputes. The government started a "weapons turn in program" that proved to be reasonably successful in reducing intra-tribal violence. Cross-border cattle raiding (gangs moving from Kenya to Uganda, and occasionally South Sudan) has also plagued the area. It looks like another round of "raiding violence" is occurring, with Karamoja clans both victims and instigators. During the last month authorities have reported numerous murders by armed gangs in Moroto. The raiders attack villages and cattle pens. They also ambush and murder locals who are grazing their cattle. The government estimates it needs another 600 policemen in the area. In May the government increased emergency food support for the Karamoja because of agricultural failures this past spring.

On June 3 the government reported a firefight with cattle rustlers operating in Kitgum (northeastern Uganda -- north of Moroto). The cattle raiders are attacking IDPs (internally displaced persons, ie refugees) returning to northern Uganda after the end of the LRA war. The government reported that many of the raiders come from Kotido district, which is another predominantly Karamojong area. The army is repositioning forces to cover routes on the border used by cattle raiders.




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contribute. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   contribute   Close