The deceased fishermen are Godfrey Kandole 30 and another one only identified as Richard 35 both fishermen attached to Kibiro landing site in Kiganja Sub County. Their fishing boat reportedly capsized on Tuesday after it was hit by strong winds
They say several motorcycles that were impounded for transporting immature fish are also being used to transport soldiers attached to the unit. The fishermen wonder why the FPU uses their impounded fishing gear to carry out operations on the lake yet the government gave them all the necessary resources to conduct the operations.
Now Simon Baleke, a fisherman at Bugoma landing site in Kyangwali sub county in Kikuube says ever since the FPU commenced their operations on the lake, attacks by suspected Congolese militiamen on Ugandan fishermen have stopped. He wants the operation to continue to save them from being attacked by the suspected Congolese armed men.
Those fleeing are from the landing sites of Butiaba, Wanseko, Bugoigo andKabolwa in Buliisa, Kijangi, Kaiso, Rwentale, Runga and Mbegu in Hoima, Nkondo, Sebigoro, Kyehoro, Bugoma and Kyekapere in Kikuube, Ndaiga and Kitebere in Kagadi.
Gilbert Wanadi, dealing in fish business at Kyehoro landing site in Kikuube district, says for months now fish has been a major problem for fishmongers and consumers, leading to the high price of fish in the area.
The deceased fishermen are Richard Opio 27 and another one only identified as Mugegere both attached to Bugoma-Kinya landing site Buhuka parish in Kyangwali sub county Kikuube.The incident occurred on Sunday Morning at around 7a.m near Kinya landing site.
Julius Hakiza, the Albertine Region Police Spokesperson told Uganda Radio Network on Sunday afternoon that although security teams were notified by the affected fishermen, it was too late for them to pursue the suspected militiamen because they had already fled and crossed to DRC. But, he adds, Ugandan authorities are already engaging counterparts in Congo to solve the recurring problem.
The Kadungulu Sub County LC III Chairperson, Peter Okomol Edeu Okomol blames the accidents on corrupt law enforcement officers on the Lake, especially the Police Marines, UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit and Fishery officers whom he claims often impound small boats and return them to fishermen after pocketing bribes.
The Congolese soldiers were arrested on Friday night last week while robbing Ugandan fishermen of their boats, nets and boat Engines near Bugoigo landing site in Buliisa district and Dei in Pakwach district.
The said operatives kidnapped 10 fishermen in the wee hours of August 2, 2020, and later placed a four million Shillings bounty for their release. The fishermen included David Mucunguzi, Innocent Twinomujuni, Shabul Nabasa, Jackson Tumuhamye, Benjamin Tusasibwe, Nicholas Sunday, Kenneth Kabasharira, Nicholas Tumwesigye, Patrick Bwiho and Jackson Musinguzi.
According to Mujuni, each fisherman paid Shillings 1.7 million to the militiamen to regain their freedom. Julius Hakiza, the Albertine Region Police Spokesperson, says the fishermen were freed following the intervention of Ugandan security officials who engaged their Congolese counterparts.
The incident happened near Kaiso and Kijangi landing sites in Buseruka sub county in Hoima district and Sebigoro landing site in Kabwoya sub county in Kikuube district in the wee hours of Saturday at around 2AM.
Julius Hakiza, the Albertine region police spokesperson told Uganda Radio Network on Friday that the four suspected Congolese militiamen all armed with guns struck at around 1AM and put the Ugandan fishermen at gunpoint before ordering them to surrender to them the two boat engines.
More than 200 landing sites in the districts of Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube were listed for closure by the government, for allegedly facilitating the illegal movement of people to and from the Democratic Republic of Congo at the height of a lockdown occasioned by an outbreak of Coronavirus Disease. The first phase of the process saw at least 61 landing sites closed in May.