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.
Some of the boat Engines that were recovered from suspected Congolese armed men in 2019. These were returned by Congolese Authorities after negotiation with Ugandan government officials.Photo by Emmanuel Okello.
fishermen who lost their fishing gear to suspected Congolese militiamen last
week have recovered them after paying a ransom to their tormentors. The Congolese
militiamen raided Lake Albert waters near Nyawaiga landing site in Kabwoya Sub
County in Kikuube district in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
armed attackers placed Ugandan fishermen at gunpoint and ordered them to
surrender to four boat engines, four boats and more than ten sets of fishing
nets. After accomplishing their mission, the militiamen crossed to Kasenyi
Landing site in Bunia district Ituri Province in the Eastern Democratic
Republic of Congo with the stolen fishing gear.
Kyasimire, the Nkondo Parish LC II Chairperson, says they have since managed to
recover three boat engines and boats after USD 500 (about 1.8 million Shillings) to the
militiamen. 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 USD 500 to release his fishing gear.
//Cue in; ”Dong
Cue out…Utie kud atum.”//
Alpha Opio, the Kabwoya sub-county LCV Councilor has asked security to
intensify surveillance on the lake to safeguard Ugandan fishermen from attacks
by armed Congolese militiamen. Julius Hakiza,
the Albertine Region Police Spokesperson, says that by the time the attacks by the
militiamen are reported, it is too late for security to act. Attacks by
suspected Congolese militia on the Lake Albert have been rampant since
In January, two Congolese soldiers were arrested on Lake Albert in
Buliisa district. The soldiers were identified as Mouli Mweni and Patrick
Njangu Bukamba from Mahagi Port Bunia district in Eastern DRC. They were
apprehended while robbing Ugandan fishermen of their fishing boats, nets and engines
near Bugoigo landing site in Buliisa district and Dei in Pakwach
Two submachine guns, each with 30
rounds of live ammunition were recovered from the soldiers. In April, two militiamen
were gunned down in a fire exchange with UPDF on the Lake Albert in Hoima
district. They were identified as Ozelle Opio and a one Singa.
others namely Balaka Jarenga, Makuru Onjoka, Claude Nguma, Kakuru Kwamire and
Kapaseka Otika were arrested. UPDF soldiers also recovered three AK 47 guns
with 47 rounds of ammunition from the militiamen. The bodies of the dead
and five militia suspects were later handed over to Congolese authorities on
May 28, 2020.