Uganda: In the Eye of the Storm

I’m currently traveling in Uganda.  I do it because I enjoy the country, Ugandans are very friendly and there are nice things to see and do.

The country, however, is surrounded by trouble.  Things in eastern Congo (DRC, located along Uganda’s western border) seem to be in constant turmoil.  Right now, rebels have captured several cities near the Ugandan/Rwandan border and are allegedly headed for Goma, a large commercial center in eastern Congo.  Refugees have been moving across the border into Uganda to avoid the fighting.  Troops from the DRC and UN have been mobilizing to protect Goma.  Uganda has requested that the UN consider the issue.

On Uganda’s northern border is South Sudan (SS), the world’s newest country (created with the support of the US).  SS, which just celebrated its 1-year anniversary, is beset with tribal conflicts and is fighting with its northern neighbor Sudan.  The conflict is over an oil-rich area along the two countries shared (but disputed) border.  One can’t help but wonder if the problems of SS will spill over into Uganda.

Northern Kenya, on Uganda’s eastern border, has had recent religious violence.  Two Christian churches were recently attacked, with several Christians killed.  Fortunately, it appears that Muslims have rallied to help protect Christian churches in the area.

The US, in a strange move, has deployed to 100 troops (or advisers) to the Ugandan area to look for the particularly obnoxious leader of a rebel group called the Lord Resistance Army.  The group, which used to terrorize northern Uganda, is now thought to be largely hiding in the mountains of SS and the Congo.  The number two leader of the LRA was recently captured.

Through it all, things in Uganda appear to be fairly normal, or what passes for normal in east-central Africa.

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One Response to Uganda: In the Eye of the Storm

  1. Located on the edge of the Equator, Uganda is positioned in south-central Africa, and bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Tanzania. Uganda averages about 1,100 metres (3,609 ft) above sea level, and while much of its border is lakeshore, Uganda is landlocked with no access to the sea. The country is mostly plateau with some rolling hills and low mountains. Grassland and tropical forest dominate the central region, with volcanic foothills in the east. The Ruwenzori Mountains form much of the southwestern border between Uganda and the DRC. The highest peaks there are snowcapped. In eastern Uganda, the border with Kenya is marked by volcanic hills. Uganda is replete with water and contains many large lakes. In fact, almost one-fifth of its total area is open water or swampland. Four of East Africa’s Great Lakes – Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga, Lake Albert, and Lake Edward lie within Uganda or on its borders. Lake Victoria is the second largest inland freshwater lake in the world (after Lake Superior), and it feeds the upper waters of the Nile River, which is referred to in this region as the Victoria Nile. Lake Kyoga and the surrounding basin dominate central Uganda. Additional lakes of note include Lake Kwania, Lake Bugondo, Lake George and Lake Opeta. The Nile River leaves Lake Victoria near Jinja, as the Victoria Nile. It flows for approximately 500 kilometres (300 mi) further, through Lake Kyoga, until it reaches Lake Albert. After leaving Lake Albert, the river is known as the Albert Nile. It then flows into Sudan, where it is known as the Bahr al Jabal, or Mountain Nile.

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