The seven suspected militiamen, four of them dressed in the DRC military uniform, placed several fishermen at gunpoint and ordered them to surrender their fishing gear. After executing their mission, they crossed to the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Ethien Arua, one of the affected fishermen.
The injured fishermen are Seremos Byaruhanga, Robert Amukuhikirize and Deo Busobozi, all attached to Nsunzu B landing site in Buhuka Parish Kyangwali sub county, Kikuube district. They were shot and injured at around 5a.m near the Senjojo landing site in Buhuka parish.
The deceased fishermen have only been identified as AJaruva and Richard both attached to Bugoma landing site in Buhuka parish Kyangwali sub county in Kikuube district. The incident happened on Saturday evening at around 5p.m.
Julius Hakiza, the Albertine Region Police Spokesperson says that the suspected Congolese militiamen that were dressed in DRC military uniform raided the lake and placed several fishermen at gunpoint, and ordered them to surrender the boats to them.
Robert Ocan, the chairman of eleven landing sites on Lake Kyoga said that if the government had relaxed on impounding the illegal fishing gears, over 300 fishermen using small boats would have been lost by now. He asked the Government to support those surrendering the illegal fishing gears with small loans to purchase the recommended fishnets and boats.
The fisheries protection unit-FPU was Tuesday invited to come and burn the illegal fishing gears.
Some of the abducted Ugandan fishermen are currently being held at the Tchomia Landing Site, Bunia district in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. But their colleagues at Kaiso Landing Site are now asking Ugandan authorities to engage their counterparts in the DRC for their release.
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.
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.
According to Aweera, the deceased who is believed to be in his 50’s isn’t known in the area. Julius Hakiza, the Albertine Region police spokesperson, says the body is lying at Buliisa general hospital pending postmortem and positive identification. .
John Kato, a fisherman at Sebigoro landing site in Kikuube district, says the fate of the fishermen is unknown since they haven’t heard from them since Saturday. He wants the government to immediately intervene and compel the Congolese government authorities to set the fishermen free.
Henry Irumba, the LC 1 Chairperson Kaiso Landing site, says the families of the affected fishermen are experiencing untold suffering since they can no longer afford proving for their families.
The boats and Engines were confiscated in April this year after the boat owners defied a night-time ban on fishing activities on Lake Albert occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19 Pandemic.
Before the lake is reopened for fishing, the unit has announced that only boats with the interior overall length of 28 feet will be registered as recommended by the fish act. But fishermen and their leaders are protesting the guideline which they say, does not apply to Lake Kyoga, on the basis of its water levels and cost of acquisition.