Fishermen Recover Boat Engines After Paying Ransom to DRC Militiamen

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.
Boat Engines recovered from suspected DRC Militiamen in 2019. The militiamen have continued to raid Lake Albert waters confiscating more engines.Photo by Emmanuel Okello.
 Some Ugandan fishermen who lost their boat engines to suspected Congolese militiamen last month have recovered them after paying a ransom.

Last month, the gunmen raided the Lake Albert near Kaiso landing site, Kabaale Sub County and robbed 19 boat engines and four fishing boats. They put several fishermen at gunpoint and ordered them to surrender the boat engines.

On Sunday last week, the gunmen released six of the 19 boat engines after each of the owners paid more than 1 Million Shillings.   

Fred Mujuni, the Chairperson Kaiso landing site fishing community says that ten more boat engines that had been robbed by the gunmen were returned to the owners on Wednesday evening.  He says currently three more engines are still being held after the owners failed to raise the ransom.

John Okumu, one of the affected fishermen whose engine is still being held by the suspected militiamen noted that he has failed to raise the 500 US Dollars to have his engine released.

Julius Hakiza, the Albertine region police spokesperson says that security teams are already in talks with their DRC counterparts to forge a way forward on how the persistent attacks on Ugandan fishermen on the lake can be prevented solved.

Attacks by suspected Congolese Militia on Ugandan fishermen have been rampant since 2018.    On March 14, 2021, four-armed Congolese militiamen raided the lake abducting 16 Ugandan fishermen.   They also robbed four fishing boats and four engines.

The abducted fishermen were detained for a week at the Tchomia Landing Site in Bunia district and released after each paid 500 US Dollars.

 In April 2020, two suspected Congolese militiamen were gunned down on Lake Albert in Hoima district in a fire exchange between the militia and the UPDF soldiers.  

The two, later identified as Ozelle Opio, 25, and another, only identified as Singa were part of the group that invaded the landing site near Kaiso in Buseruka sub-county where they put several Ugandan fishermen at gunpoint, ordering them to surrender their fishing gear including boats, fishing nets, engines and hooks.