Julius Hakiza, the Albertine Region Police Spokesperson told Uganda Radio Network on Sunday afternoon that although security teams were notified by the affected fishermen, it was too late for them to pursue the suspected militiamen because they had already fled and crossed to DRC. But, he adds, Ugandan authorities are already engaging counterparts in Congo to solve the recurring problem.
The Kadungulu Sub County LC III Chairperson, Peter Okomol Edeu Okomol blames the accidents on corrupt law enforcement officers on the Lake, especially the Police Marines, UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit and Fishery officers whom he claims often impound small boats and return them to fishermen after pocketing bribes.
The Congolese soldiers were arrested on Friday night last week while robbing Ugandan fishermen of their boats, nets and boat Engines near Bugoigo landing site in Buliisa district and Dei in Pakwach district.
The said operatives kidnapped 10 fishermen in the wee hours of August 2, 2020, and later placed a four million Shillings bounty for their release. The fishermen included David Mucunguzi, Innocent Twinomujuni, Shabul Nabasa, Jackson Tumuhamye, Benjamin Tusasibwe, Nicholas Sunday, Kenneth Kabasharira, Nicholas Tumwesigye, Patrick Bwiho and Jackson Musinguzi.
According to Mujuni, each fisherman paid Shillings 1.7 million to the militiamen to regain their freedom. Julius Hakiza, the Albertine Region Police Spokesperson, says the fishermen were freed following the intervention of Ugandan security officials who engaged their Congolese counterparts.
The incident happened near Kaiso and Kijangi landing sites in Buseruka sub county in Hoima district and Sebigoro landing site in Kabwoya sub county in Kikuube district in the wee hours of Saturday at around 2AM.
Julius Hakiza, the Albertine region police spokesperson told Uganda Radio Network on Friday that the four suspected Congolese militiamen all armed with guns struck at around 1AM and put the Ugandan fishermen at gunpoint before ordering them to surrender to them the two boat engines.
More than 200 landing sites in the districts of Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube were listed for closure by the government, for allegedly facilitating the illegal movement of people to and from the Democratic Republic of Congo at the height of a lockdown occasioned by an outbreak of Coronavirus Disease. The first phase of the process saw at least 61 landing sites closed in May.
Julius Hakiza, the Albertine Region Police Spokesperson told Uganda Radio Network this morning that the arrested fishermen are locked up at Kaiso police station pending transfer to Hoima Central Police station.
According to available information, the gunmen who were dressed in military uniform intercepted the fishermen and ordered them to surrender their fishing gear before they shot them. The forth fisherman identified as Ajaru Chobidongo jumped into the water and managed to get away from the gunmen.
Ajaru Chobidongo, a survivor of the attack told Uganda Radio Network that the suspected militiamen dressed in camouflage uniform attacked their boat and held them at gunpoint. They were eventually ordered to surrender their fishing gear.