Officials from Ugandan Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development together with their counterparts in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo have embarked on the process of surveying border marks on the disputed Sarambwe border point between the two countries.
This was resolved during a trans-border meeting that took place on Thursday at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Visitors Information Center in Kanungu District organized by the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration, an NGO working towards improving trans boundary relationship between governments, national parks and local people in Uganda, DRC and Rwanda with support from the United Nations.
The Bwindi meeting was attended by officials from Uganda’s Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kanungu District Local Government and their counterparts from DRC, led by the Director of Governance in the North Kivu Province Mr Prosper Mazimpaka.
Kanungu District Leadership included the Resident District Commissioner Hajji Shafique Ssekandi, the District Chairperson Canon Josephine Kasya and Kinkizi West Constituency Member of Parliament James Kaberuka.
Wilson Ebunyu Ogaro, the Commissioner of Surveys and Mapping in the Ministry of Lands said the Sarambwe issue will be resolved once for all after a team of surveyors from Uganda and DRC locate the original border marks and erect new pillars between the two countries.
He explained that Uganda and DRC agreed to identify original border marks and erect permanent pillars to identify the clear border line from Arua to Kisoro in order to minimise border conflicts.
“The exercise is going to involve opening up boundaries between Uganda and DRC so that people from either side can know and understand where they belong without causing any conflict,” he said.
According to Dr Andrew Seguya, the Greater Virunga Trans boundary Collaboration Executive Director the Sarambwe border area is within the Virunga ranges which is home of the mountain gorillas.
He says on the DRC side which is mostly uninhabited, some people have been encroaching on the land.
It also said that most of the encroachers are Ugandans who have suffered misfortune of having their crops cut down by DRC authorities for overstepping their border line which has been a long standing conflict.
RDC Ssekandi observed that the process of establishing clear border marks along the border will go a long way in establishing permanent peace and security along the border.
“Border conflict is not good since people living along the border line share a lot in common including intermarriage” Ssekandi said.
The DRC delegation leader Prosper Mazimpaka said that the long standing border conflict had brought about mistrust between the people but now that the border marks are to be identified such mistrust will not exist again.