A Ugandan soldier was killed in clashes on the lake straddling the border with Democratic Republic of Congo with another Ugandan and two Congolese wounded, officials from the two sides said.
Congolese officials said the navies exchanged gunfire in Congolese waters of Lake Edward last Thursday. Uganda’s army spokesman said Ugandan forces were attacked by “unknown gunmen” on their own side of the border.
The two countries have a sometimes tense relationship, with the Congolese accusing Ugandan forces of encroaching on territory and Ugandan authorities saying the Congolese do not do enough to stamp out militia activity near the border.
Congo’s navy sent a mixed civilian and military patrol onto the lake to investigate after several Congolese fishermen were stopped in Congolese waters by Ugandan forces.
A Ugandan boat apparently opened fired without warning on the Congolese delegation, Major Jean Tsongo, a Congolese naval commander, told Reuters.
“The first Ugandan shot hit the civilian captain leading the Congolese delegation,” Tsongo said. “That was when the Congolese army decided to respond.”
Uganda army spokesman, Richard Karemire, said two Ugandan naval boats were on a routine patrol off Rwensha when they came under attack by unidentified gunmen.
“From the attack, one soldier died and another was injured,” Karemire said. “Patrols have been stepped up as investigations to identify perpetrators continue.”
Congo and Uganda were enemies during a 1998-2003 conflict in eastern Congo in which millions died. UN investigators accused Uganda in 2012 of backing an insurrection, which government denied.
The countries are jointly planning military operations against a Ugandan rebel group blamed for hundreds of civilian deaths in Beni, in north-eastern Congo, since 2014.