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Armed Congolese militia abduct 16 Ugandan fishermen, rob 20 engines and 20 boats

Hoima, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Suspected armed Congolese militia have raided the Lake Albert waters abducting 16 fishermen and robbed 20 boat engines plus 20 fishing boats from Ugandans.

The incident happened near Kaiso and Kijangi landing sites in Buseruka sub county in Hoima district and Sebigoro landing site in Kabwoya sub county, Kikuube district in the wee hours of Saturday morning at around 2am.

Fred Mujuni, the chairperson Kaiso landing site fishing community told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Saturday afternoon that all the seven armed Congolese militiamen put several Ugandan fishermen at gunpoint while on the lake before ordering them to surrender to them all the fishing gear they had in their possession. They later crossed with them to DRC.

He says the militiamen also robbed 20 boat engines and 20 fishing boats that they also crossed with to DR Congo. He says the Congolese militiamen are currently demanding for ransom to have the Ugandans freed together with their fishing gear.

Richard Tabaro, the Resident District Commissioner-RDC Kikuube confirmed the development to URN in an interview on Saturday saying they are currently engaging their Congolese security counterparts to ensure that the abducted Ugandan fishermen are freed together with their fishing gear. He however could not readily avail particulars of the abducted Ugandan fishermen.

Attacks by suspected Congolese militia on the lake Albert waters have been rampant since 2018. In April, two suspected Congolese militiamen were gunned down on the lake Albert waters in Hoima district.

The duo were gunned down in a fire exchange between the militia and the UPDF soldiers.

Five others were also arrested by the UPDF while on the lake. The gunned down militiamen were identified as Ozelle Opio 25 and one only identified as Singa.

The five arrested were identified as Balaka Jarenga 35, Makuru Onjoka 36, Claude Nguma 29, Kakuru Kwamire and Kapaseka Otika39.

The UPDF operatives also recovered three AK 47 guns with 47 rounds of ammunition that the militiamen were using at the time they were rounded up.

The bodies of the gunned down Congolese were later handed over to Congolese authorities on May 28, 2020 together with five other suspects arrested by the UPDF.

That time, the armed Congolese militiamen struck the Albertine landing site near Kaiso in Buseruka sub county where they put several Ugandan fishermen at gun point, ordering them to surrender to them their fishing gear including boats, fishing nets, engines and hooks.

However, some Ugandan fishermen sneaked off and alerted the UPDF who rushed to their rescue.

Before the UPDF soldiers could reach them, the suspected militiamen opened fire leading to fire exchange between them and the UPDF and in the process two of the militiamen were killed.

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