Hoima, Uganda | URN | Suspected Congolese militiamen have raided the Lake Albert waters yet again, abducting 16 Ugandan Fishermen. The militiamen also robbed four fishing boats, four boat engines and several sets of fishing nets from the fishermen.
The attack occurred on Sunday 14, March 2021 near the Kaiso landing site in Mbegu parish Kabaale sub-county Hoima district.
Fred Mujuni, the chairperson of Kaiso landing site fishing community told this publication in an interview on Monday 15th 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.
Julius Hakiza, the Albertine region police spokesperson says it was too late for the police to pursue the suspected militiamen by the time security teams were alerted. He however adds that efforts are ongoing to engage the Congolese authorities to have the abducted Ugandans freed.
Hakiza identifies some of the Ugandan fishermen whose boats have been robbed by the militiamen as Richard Okethwengu, Philemon Kazingufu and Asaba Sirius, all residents of Kaiso landing site. He says it is not yet clear in which parts of DR Congo, the abducted fishermen are being held.
Attacks by suspected Congolese militiamen on the Lake Albert waters have been rampant since 2018. In October 2020, suspected armed Congolese militiamen raided the Lake Albert, where they abducted 16 fishermen, robbed 20 boat engines and 20 fishing boats.
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 April 2020, two suspected Congolese militiamen were gunned down on the 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.
But in the process, 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 a fire exchange between them and the UPDF. The UPDF also recovered three AK-47 guns with 47 rounds of ammunition that the militiamen were using at the time they were rounded up.