Hoima, Uganda | URN | Suspected armed Congolese militiamen have raided the Uganda side of Lake Albert and fled off with fishing gear belonging to Ugandans.
The six-armed men dressed in Congolese military camouflage reportedly attacked in the wee hours of Sunday close to Runga landing site in, Kibiro Parish in Kiganja sub-county.
The victims were put at gunpoint and robbed of four sets of fishing nets, four fuel tanks and eleven life-jackets belonging to the fishermen.
Some of the victims have been identified as Suleiman Meddy 47, Denis 40, and Lazaro.
Meddy said the attackers asked him and colleagues to surrender all the fishing gear before they varnished towards the DRC side of the lake.
Julius Hakiza, the Albertine region police spokesperson has confirmed the attack on the fishermen.
Hakiza says security operatives in the Albertine region have already alerted their counterparts in the DRC adding that efforts to pursue the suspected attackers are underway. Attacks by the suspected DRC militiamen on Ugandan fishermen have been rampant since 2018.
In March 2021, suspected armed DRC militiamen raided the Lake Albert waters abducting 16 Ugandan fishermen.
The attack occurred near Kaiso landing site in Kabaale Sub County. They also robbed four fishing boats, four-engine boats and several sets of fishing nets from the fishermen. They were later released after each of them allegedly paid a ransom of 50 US Dollars.
On March 21, 2021, the suspected DRC militiamen again raided the lake robbing 19 boat engines.
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.
But in the process, some Ugandan fishermen sneaked off and alerted the UPDF who rushed to their rescue.
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.