Ugandan police are deploying a standby force to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after U.N. peacekeeping troops opened fire on a border post, killing two people and wounding 15, including an 8-year-old Ugandan girl.
Uganda says it has deployed a team to monitor ongoing tensions in the eastern DRC resulting from a deadly shooting involving MONUSCO soldiers.
The incident that has been described in a statement by the U.N. Special Representative Bintou Keita as unspeakable and irresponsible happened in the town of Kasindi in the DRC’S Beni territory close to Uganda.
The statement said that during the incident, soldiers from the Intervention Brigade of the MONUSCO force from Tanzania, returning from leave, opened fire at the border post for unexplained reasons and forced their way through.
Fred Enanga, the Uganda Police spokesperson, described the incident.
“So, one of the bullets strayed and hit an eight-year-old juvenile called Bira Jackline,” he said. “She’s getting treatment at Bwera hospital. The stray bullet hit her shoulder and it was retrieved. So, she’s out of danger.”
In his statement, Bintou said the perpetrators of the shooting were identified and arrested pending the conclusions of the investigation, which has already started in collaboration with Congolese authorities.
Bintou added that contact had also been established with Tanzania so that legal proceedings can be initiated urgently with the participation of victims and witnesses.
MONUSCO, the peacekeeping mission in the DRC, was in 2010 given the mandate to carry out offensive operations. In another statement, U.N. Chief Antonio Guterres said he was saddened and outraged by the incident and demanded accountability.
With ongoing tension between DRC locals and MONUSCO, Enanga said authorities are monitoring the situation.
“We’ve been closely monitoring what happened from the other side of Bunagana and DRC,” he said. “We don’t want the violence there to affect our borderline. We have a standby team monitoring.”
Trade between DRC and Uganda slowed down since March due to the resumption of fighting between DRC government forces and M23 rebels who took over the town of Bunagana. Uganda has since March registered 41,164 asylum seekers comprising 21,235 households.