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Vol 49 No 10

Published 9th May 2008


Hidden depths

Tensions between Kinshasa and Kampala are heating up again and oil fortunes are at stake

Talks to resolve the intermittent border disputes between Kampala and Kinshasa have been called off after Congolese troops seized a tract of disputed territory between Arua district and Aru township on 4 May. Uganda's Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Kimbowa accuses Congolese troops of physically moving the border posts into Ugandan territory and the Foreign Ministry is sending officials to survey the area this week. This could worsen continuing tensions between Kinshasa and Kampala over ownership of the rich oil reserves of Lake Albert. Last year, Congolese troops shot up a Ugandan boat sailing across the lake carrying oil technicians. Emboiled in all this is Ireland's Tullow Oil which, along with Heritage Oil, signed an agreement with the Energy Ministry in Kinshasa in 2006, awarding it rights to drill beneath Congo's side of the lake. Tullow and Heritage have also signed deals with Uganda's Energy Ministry, thereby attracting criticism from Kinshasa.

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