Kampala, Uganda | AFP | Suspected Congolese militiamen shot dead seven Ugandan fishermen and wounded another on Lake Albert, which straddles the two countries’ border, police said Sunday.
Uganda’s deputy police commander in the region Amos Muhindo said the gunmen opened fire on the fishermen as they went to retrieve the body of a colleague killed by the same group earlier last week.
“Seven Ugandan fishermen were shot dead by the Congolese militia on Saturday as they went into the water near Kaiso landing site (in Hoima district, Uganda) to search for the body of their colleague,” he said.
“One person survived and has been taken to Hoima hospital with gunshot wounds.”
He said the attack was reportedly carried out by five armed men in military uniform, adding that it was the third time in a week the alleged militia members crossed to the Ugandan side of the lake for illegal fishing and attacked locals.
Tensions have soared on the lakes straddling the Democratic Republic of Congo-Uganda border in recent months as Kampala has increasingly attempted to crack down on illegal fishing, spurred by dwindling fish resources.
Uganda has deployed the military onto the water and hundreds of Congolese fishermen have been arrested.
In July, the armed forces of Uganda and the DRC clashed on Lake Edward, leaving two Ugandan soldiers and three civilians dead.
Aside from illegal fishermen, armed groups which are rife in the conflict-torn eastern DRC also operate on the lake, robbing fishermen of their boats, engines and catch or seizing them and demanding ransoms.