Uganda-DR Congo: Soldiers torture and pillage mourners

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Authorities from the Democratic Republic of Congo are investigating allegations made by a group of over 20 Ugandan mourners, from northern Uganda, that they were tortured by Congolese government soldiers while returning from a funeral.

Ugandans and Congolese living near the border are of similar tribes and have relatives in both countries. The mourners who claim that they were tortured live in Uganda but have relatives in DR Congo where the funeral ceremony took place.

According to one of them, Adam Okuga, they were arrested on Friday and detained in a filthy room up to Saturday morning.

Okuga said, “They arrested and threatened to kill us if we did not produce Congolese movement permits. We told them that we live in Uganda and so do not carry such documents.

They beat us and demanded for money if we did not want to be detained in jail. They took all the money we had. They also took watches hand bags and other items belonging to us.”

The local government official of Logiri county in Uganda, where the mourners live, said that it is common for Congolese soldiers to torture Ugandans they find on Congolese territory.

He however said that Congolese nationals walk freely into and from Uganda. He appealed to the government of Uganda to contact that of DR Congo so that such errant soldiers are dealt with accordingly.

Uganda People’s Defence Force area spokesman, Captain Peter Mugisha said that they have contacted Congolese authorities about the harassment of the mourners and that they had agreed to investigate the incident.

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