jeudi 8 septembre 2011

African Great Lakes: Where the rivers change the borders!

Semliki changes the Congolese-Ugandan border

         The course of the Semliki River, natural border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Ruwenzori region has ever deviated from his bed since 1960, causing a headache in the border area rich in oil.
The Semliki River is flowing full of fish from Lake Edward to the north, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and flows into Lake Albert in Uganda.
It separates about 100 km east of the Democratic Republic of Congo and western Uganda.
"We have never had a formal boundary. Colonizers have just said, use the river and we have always done,"  told a researcher of the National Authority of Uganda Environmental Management (Nema) Barrows Kitutu to AFP.
"But we have studied satellite images of 60 years and found that the river had changed course from more than 100 times to the south"
According to Ms. Kitutu, the main reason for changing the course of the Semliki is to be found on the side of climate change.
The river is fed by such sources taking their origin in the snowy mountains of Ruwenzori.
"But as temperatures have risen in recent years, an ever-increasing volume of water down the mountain, causing bank erosion and changing the course of the river," said Ms. Kitutu.
NEMA has discovered that the river had widened to 10 meters on average.
The realignment of the natural boundary could have diplomatic repercussions.
"This can lead to conflict. We know there is oil around and under Lake Albert, and when there is oil involved, you never know what can happen," said the researcher from Nema.
Oil exploration companies have found reserves of at least 1.5 billion barrels of oil on Lake Albert. Further drilling is planned, however, to the southwest of the lake, exactly where the Semliki separates the two countries.
A joint Ugandan and Congolese commission  is currently charged to better define the route of the border, but it has not yet released its findings.
Ironically, Semuliki, who gave the nickname by deforming the name of the river "Semliki" in 1888 by HM Stanley Nande language means: "There is nothing in it!"

The Akanyaru at the base of a border dispute between Rwanda and Burundi.

In 2007, a dispute arose between the people of the hill of the town Rukurazo Mwumba in Ngozi province and neighboring Rwanda. The origin of this conflict is the river that traced a Akanyaru other watercourse and secondary via another path, which caused a huge loss for farmers on both sides in the marshes of the Akanyaru.
5 September 2011, the Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his Burundian counterpart, Pierre Nkurunziza met in Kirundo in Burundi, a border town between Burundi and Rwanda to discuss the good neighborly relations between the two countries.
It was simply to calm any tensions that might arise from the report's findings of national commissions of the delimitation of the border between Rwanda and Burundi.
The event was not lost on savvy journalists have questioned the issue of the hill Sabanerwa, the press officer and spokesman for the Burundian President, the Honourable Leonidas Hatungimana.
"Until now, the issue has not yet been analyzed as a major issue that disturbs national security since there is a commission on the side of Burundi in charge of border demarcation that works with that of Rwanda. By mutual agreement, they are being evaluated on all borders points that may be litigation. So far the commission has not yet been declared incompetent, the day she will present the final report, the issue will be discussed by the ministries concerned and if it does not find more suitable solution, it will be referred to the two Heads of State. They have not analyzed as a burning issue, "said Leonidas Hatungimana.
For his part, the head of the Burundian delegation in the work of demarcation of borders between Burundi and Rwanda suggests that consideration be given international expertise where appropriate, that is to say if everything has failed.

"As a commission, we said that if you can not hear us, we will seek international expertise that will do the scientific analysis of the mud of the river Akanyaru to determine the oldest bed  this river. " said the spokesman of the Burundian president to the Chinese newspaper Xinhua.
          Indeed, he said, Burundi has shown aerial photographs taken in 1954 and 1958 to support the hill in Sabanerwa belongs to Burundi and the river Akanyaru happening on the other side of Rwanda.
The line between the two smaller neighbors was established in 1890 but some details were changed in 1910.
         Unlike other African entities, this border has met the pre-colonial political and cultural boundaries between the two ancient kingdoms.
And the head of the Burundian delegation said that because of climate change, the same river has deviated from its former bed.
On the other hand, the few inhabitants of the hill under all speak Kirundi and are handled administratively by the laws of Burundi.
The fertile island Sabanerwa has a total area of ​​20 km2 that are coveted by each of the two countries.
Akanyaru River is known for regularly carting corpses of victims of the massacres perpetrated in the two countries. Is this perhaps why it is the bearer of bad luck?

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