The suspected DRC Militia raided Lake Albert near Kaiso landing site in Mbegu Parish, Kabaale sub county Hoima district robbing 19 boat engines and four fishing boats. The attack occurred on March,21,2021.
Fred Mujuni, the Chairman of Kaiso landing site fishing community told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Monday that the Congolese criminals released six of the nineteen boat engines after their owners each paid USD 500 to have their boat engine released.
The militiamen raided the Lake on March 21, 2021, near the Kaiso Landing Site in Hoima district and robbed the boat engines from Ugandan fishermen, who were held at gunpoint. The attackers crossed into the Democratic Republic of Congo after the incident.
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.
They were allegedly abducted on March 14, 2021, while fishing near the Kaiso Landing Site in Hoima district. It is alleged that four armed Militiamen raided the Lake Albert waters and put the fishermen at gunpoint before ordering them to surrender their possessions.
The ferry is the major link for business persons in the regional towns like Hoima, Kigorobya, Masindi, Biiso, Buliisa, Kikuube and Wanseko in Bunyoro in the Albertine, and Panyimur, Dei, Pakwach, Nebbi, Paidha and Arua in West Nile.
Fred Mujuni, the chairperson of Kaiso landing site fishing community told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Monday afternoon that all the four-armed Congolese militiamen put the fishermen at gunpoint before ordering them to surrender all the fishing gear in their possession. They later crossed with them to DRC.
Lt. Colonel Edward Ijjo told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Wednesday afternoon that the operations were prompted by various complaints from the public on the usage of illegal fishing gear on Lake Albert.
Alfred Onenchan, the second in Command at Kaiso Immigration offices in Hoima district, says they are unable to patrol all landing sites due to manpower gaps. He says as a result, some Congolese Nationals use illegal landing sites to sneak into the country.
Wanzalla Okechi, one of the affected fishermen who is still pursuing the release of his boat engine, fishing boat and 14 sets of fishing nets told Uganda Radio Network in a telephone interview this morning that the militiamen are demanding US$ 500 to release his fishing gear.
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.
According to reports, the armed Congolese soldiers carried an impromptu raid on the fishermen at around 9 pm accusing them of encroaching on the Congolese side. They arrested the fishermen and took away their gears to Congo.
At least 57 people were aboard the boat that capsized near Songa-Lendu landing site in Buliisa district while heading to Panyimur fish market in Pakwach District. Twelve people escaped the accident as they were rescued by fishermen. Police have since attributed the boat accident to dangerous loading.
Julius Hakiza, the Albertine Region police spokesperson, says marine police has joined local fishermen to search for the bodies of the missing businessmen. He says the retrieved bodies are still lying at Songalendu landing site as police make arrangements to transport them to Buliisa Hospital mortuary for postmortem.