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Kinshasa protests troops incursion, Kampala denies claim

KINSHASA, 28 Apr 2006 (IRIN) - The Democratic Republic of Congo has protested to Uganda against its army's incursion into northeastern Congo in the so-called pursuit of Ugandan rebels, the Congolese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday.

"A note of protest has been handed to the Embassy of Uganda in Kinshasa," the ministry said in a communiqué.

The ministry said the note condemned what it said was fighting between Ugandan and Congolese troops on Wednesday southeast of Aba, in Orientale Province. One Ugandan soldier was killed during the fighting, the Congolese ministry said.

The ministry said the Ugandan troops, at about company strength, arrived aboard two vehicles mounted with Mi 50 cannons and headed toward Kengezi Base, in Orientale, close to the border between the Congo and Sudan.

The Ugandan Embassy in Kinshasa would not confirm whether or not it had received the protest note. In Kampala, the acting permanent secretary in the Ugandan Foreign Ministry, Julius Onen, said it had not yet received the complaint.

However, Ugandan Army spokesman Maj Felix Kulaigye denied the Congolese accusation.

"It is not true that our troops entered DRC," he said on Friday.

Rather, he added, a squad of Sudan People's Liberation Army troops had pursued armed Congolese who had abducted people from southern Sudan. He said tracks of the raiders led to a Congolese army defence line in Aba.

"We do not know whether these were LRA or Congolese army," he said.

He said the Ugandan army had received information that "armed people raided" the areas of Lasu in southern Sudan and abducted people.

The SPLA was not immediately available for comment.

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