Business at the Mpondwe border with the democratic republic of Congo has been paralyzed on Friday morning after rebels attacked the Congolese towns of Lubiriha and Kasindi overnight.
Hundreds of refugees are crossing into Uganda from the Democratic Republic of Congo following heavy artillery from the Congolese side.
Friday is cross border market day which attracts thousands of Ugandans from Kasese and other parts of the country.
Mr. Enos Sabayo a businessman in the Lubiriha market at the border says the business was halted by the customs authorities as they attend to the Congolese refugees entering Uganda.
According to source, the UPDF spokesperson of the 2nd Division Capt. Peter Mugisha said on phone that correspondences with their Congolese counterparts indicate that the rebels who attacked the border towns of Lubiriha and Kasindi are of the Mai Mai militia that fights in eastern Congo.
“We have corresponded with the commanders the other side (DRC) and they say the Mai Mai rebels attacked the two towns overnight”. Said Capt.Peter Mugisha
Capt. Mugisha said that the Congolese army reports they have repulsed the rebels although no casualties on both sides were reported by press time.
Asked about the influx of the refugees, Capt. Mugisha said they are allowed to run to safety since Ugandans have relatives in the Congolese territory.
Eye witness calling from close to Lubiriha town in the DRC say that the rebels seem to have taken over the town as they are seen calming the people down.
However, we could not easily access the rebels’ contacts to confirm what their motive is.
The Mpondwe border in Kasese is known to be on the Transafrica High way road that connects business from Mombasa in at the East African
The mai mai.
The term Mai-Mai or Mayi-Mayi refers to any kind of community-based militia group active, formed to defend their local territory against other armed groups. Most were formed to resist the invasion of Rwandan forces and Rwanda-affiliated Congolese rebel groups, but some may have formed to exploit the war for their own advantage by looting, cattle rustling and banditry.
Groups that fall under the umbrella term “Mai Mai” include armed forces led by warlords, traditional tribal elders, village heads, and politically motivated resistance fighters. Because Mai Mai have had only the most tenuous internal cohesion, different Mai Mai groups allied themselves with a variety of domestic and foreign government and guerilla groups at different times. The term Mai Mai does not
Refer to any particular movement, affiliation or political objective but to a broad variety of groups.
The Mai Mai are particularly active in the provinces in the east bordering Rwanda, north Kivu and South Kivu, which were under the control of the Rwanda-allied Banyamulenge-dominated rebel faction, the Rally for Congolese Democracy-Goma (RCD-Goma).