Uganda Buries 31 Soldiers
Sep. 09, 1999
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) _ All 31 Ugandan soldiers killed in last month's fighting with Rwandan troops in Congo were buried in a military cemetery in a remote village north of Kampala, a military spokesman said Thursday.
Rwandan and Ugandan troops, sometime allies in the fight to topple Congo's president, traded ferocious mortar and artillery barrages between Aug. 14 and 17 in efforts to control Kisangani, a strategic northern Congolese city.
News accounts have unofficially put the Ugandan death toll as high as 200. The number of Rwandan casualties is not known.
``Our fallen colleagues were officially buried yesterday. There were 31 bodies in all. I was not at the scene of the burial but I confirm that the burial took place,'' Lieutenant Barigye Bihoku said in response to newspaper accounts.
The New Vision newspaper reported Thursday that the burials took place in the village of Namunkekeera, 25 miles from Kampala.
Relatives of the dead soldiers and other civilians were barred from the funeral, New Vision said.
Much of central Africa has been drawn into Congo's yearlong civil war. One year ago, Rwanda and Uganda joined a group of Congolese Tutsis, disaffected Congolese soldiers and opposition politicians in trying to remove Kabila, accusing him of abusing his power and fomenting ethnic violence. The two countries recently took opposing sides in a factional dispute among the rebels and last month, turned their guns on each other.