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At least 22 confirmed dead in Oil tanker
explosion in western Uganda say Police

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- At least 22 people have been confirmed dead in a Sunday evening fuel tanker explosion in the western Ugandan district of Rubirizi, a police spokesperson said on Monday.

Marshal Tumusiime, Great Bushenyi regional police spokesperson, told Xinhua by telephone that the joint rescue teams recovered 17 bodies burnt beyond recognition and 5 others who were identified from the scene of the accident at Kyambura trading center along the Mbarara-Kasese highway.

"The operation is done.

"We have retrieved 22 bodies.

"We don’t expect more bodies at the scene of the accident," said Tumusiime.

"We are not certain of the number of those people still alive since they were taken to different hospitals for treatment," he said.

The police spokesperson said the 17 severely burnt bodies have been transported to the capital, Kampala for DNA tests to help in the identification process before being handed to relatives for burial.

The five identified deceased have been handed to their relatives for burial.

The accident occurred after the petrol tanker from the western town of Mbarara lost control and rammed into two commuter taxis and a saloon car.

The tanker burst into flames, killing several people instantly.

Police said a stream of liquid fire from the fuel also burnt about 25 small shops over a stretch of more than 30 meters.


Nine Congolese militiamen arrested in North West Uganda

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Nine Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) militiamen have been arrested by Ugandan security forces on Lake Albert which is shared by the two countries.

Shuaib Toko, Resident District Commissioner for Pakwach told Xinhua by telephone on Monday that the militiamen who were arrested on Saturday were found with guns and army uniforms.

"The militias have been harassing our fishermen on Lake Albert for long.

"They claim the lake belongs to them, which is not the case," Toko said.

He added that the militia confiscate boat engines and fishing nets from the Ugandan fishermen and later ask for ransom of about 200 U.S. dollars per person.

"What they have been doing is really dangerous.

"They take the engines and leave the occupants of the boats at the mercy of the wind.

"As we speak one boat has disappeared and we don’t know yet where it was blown by the wind," Toko said.

He said so far four boat engines and a number of nets belonging to Ugandans were recovered from the militiamen who come from the Congolese territory of Mahagi.

Josephine Angucia, West Nile regional police spokesperson told Xinhua by telephone that this was not the first time the militia were attacking Ugandans.

"They have been robbing our people and even killing them.

"We want their case file taken to court and charged with theft and other related crimes," she said.

She noted that they were set to hold discussions with Congolese authorities over security concerns on the lake.

East African bloc urges responsible journalism following misleading report

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Monday urged responsible journalism following a recent "misleading report" about Uganda.

The East African bloc made the urgent call following the report that quoted the IGAD Secretariat and IGAD South Sudan Office in a report that asserts Uganda as the "real threat to peace in South Sudan."

"The attention of IGAD Secretariat and IGAD South Sudan Office has been drawn to a report in the South Sudan News Agency website. Headed "Leaked memo: Uganda is the real threat to peace in South Sudan" IGAD said in a statement issued on Monday.

The contents of the report are attributed to an alleged IGAD Secretariat internal memo leaked to the South Sudan News Agency, while the location and date are indicated as Addis Ababa on August 16.

IGAD, which underscored the vital importance of maintaining the essence of responsible journalism before broadcasting such "unverified" contents to the public at large, also urged media outlets to refrain from publishing inaccurate contents without establishing the authenticity from its Secretariat.

"Responsible journalism, regardless of the medium-airwaves, electronic or print-requires bearing full responsibility for the accuracy, credibility, and verification of the information sought to be conveyed before broadcasting the same to the target audience and public at large," IGAD said.

The regional bloc, which described the report as a "misleading report," also urged all media outlets both across the region and beyond to verify such sensitive contents beforehand.

"IGAD Secretariat and IGAD South Sudan Office are not aware of any efforts whatsoever by the South Sudan News Agency to establish the authenticity of the purported leaked Internal Memo," the statement read.

"Had this been done, it would have been very clear that IGAD Secretariat and IGAD South Sudan Office do not engage in the typology of activity and innuendos mentioned and suggested in Report," IGAD said, adding "the motive of the publisher would have been called to question."

IGAD is an eight-member regional organization comprised of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.

IGAD also stressed that the report portrays against its mission towards "promoting regional cooperation and integration to enhance efforts by the member States to achieve peace, security, and prosperity throughout the region."

It also emphasized its mandate of promoting peace and stability in the region and creating mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of inter-state and intra-state conflicts within the region through dialogue.

Condemning the recent report that stated Uganda as "the real threat to peace in South Sudan," IGAD also stressed that "Uganda unwaveringly adheres to IGAD’s mission and mandate, as do all the other seven member states and in this regard continues to play a crucial role in the peaceful resolution of the conflict in South Sudan."

"Therefore, against the above background IGAD Secretariat and IGAD South Sudan Office are dismayed by the report by South Sudan News Agency, more so at this time when the focus should be on implementation of outstanding critical activities of the Pre-Transition Period," the statement read.

Noting that the approaching deadline for the extension of the Pre-Transition Period of November 12 this year, the East African bloc also stressed that "the support of all well-wishers of the people of South Sudan, including the media, can never be more vital at this time."

Chinese envoy to Uganda dispels smear campaign against Chinese companies

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Chinese Ambassador to Uganda Zheng Zhuqiang on Tuesday said a smear campaign against Chinese enterprises must be seriously opposed.

Zheng was speaking at a competition event where local employees of Chinese enterprises exhibited their skill set.

The ambassador was speaking in reference to a Wall Street Journal article published earlier this month, alleging that Chinese telecom Huawei aided the Uganda and Zambia intelligence officers in spying on the opposition politicians.

"I must reiterate that the fake news from the Wall Street Journal recently, full of ridiculously fabricated stories, is utterly groundless, whose ulterior schemes are highly questionable.

"Such irresponsible smearing must be seriously opposed," Zheng said.

He said the Chinese government has always insisted on the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, and urges Chinese enterprises to abide by laws and regulations when doing business overseas.

Zheng said China and Uganda have a long history of deep political mutual trust and fast-growing business cooperation.

He said over the years, China has supported Uganda to construct major infrastructure projects, such as Karuma Hydro Power Plant, Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, among others.

He noted that Chinese enterprises have fully engaged in the infrastructure projects, employing more than 80,000 local staff.

"Among them are not only the employees doing construction work, but also in the position of middle and top management.

"The industrial parks invested by Chinese entrepreneurs and enterprises also create tens of thousands of jobs in Uganda and will employ more local staff," he said.

Regarding the Wall Street Journal report, both the Ugandan and Zambian government have dismissed them as "malicious" and "hogwash".

Huawei also refuted the report as unfounded, with inaccurate allegations against its business operations in Africa.

The multinational company said its code of business conduct prohibits any employees from undertaking activities that would compromise its customers or end users’ data or privacy or that would breach any laws.



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