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Congolese kidnappers Demand UGX 4M to free 10 Ugandan Fishermen

Some of the victims have been identified as David Mucunguzi, Innocent Twinomujuni ,Shabul Nabasa, Jackson Tumuhamye, Benjamin Tusasibwe, Nicholas Sunday, Kenneth Kabasharira Nicholas Tumwesigye, Patrick Bwiho and Jackson Musinguzi.

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Congolese militias holding ten fishermen they kidnapped from Lake Edward in Rukungiri district are demanding for a ransom of Shillings 4 million to release them. 

The fishermen were rounded up on Monday evening by the Congolese militiamen when they ventured into the lake to check on their fish catch. 

Some of the victims have been identified as David Mucunguzi, Innocent Twinomujuni ,Shabul  Nabasa, Jackson Tumuhamye,  Benjamin Tusasibwe, Nicholas  Sunday, Kenneth Kabasharira Nicholas   Tumwesigye, Patrick Bwiho and Jackson Musinguzi.   

Capt. Favorite Rwogamu, the Uganda Marine Forces Spokesperson told our reporter on a phone that the kidnappers are now demanding for ransom to release the fishermen. 

He however, says they are tired of sending money to the militias, saying they are going to hold round table negations with the Congolese government to secure the release of the fishermen.   

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Mustapha Aribariho, a fisherman at Rwenshama landing site told URN that the kidnap victims had gone into the lake with six boats to check on their fishing nets when the kidnappers struck. 

He says the relatives of the fishermen are living in fear of their safety, saying they are yet to receive any information from Ugandan security on the efforts being made to rescue them.

Isaac Tugumisirize, a local councilor, says the Congolese militiamen kidnapped the Ugandan fishermen to revenge the arrest of Congolese fishermen who are often arrested by Ugandan security in Lake Edward for violating the territorial boundaries.  

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Benard Baingana, the UPDF Marine Operations Officer on Lake Edward and George, says government has commenced negations with Congolese authorities to secure the release of the fishermen. This is not the first time militias are kidnapping Ugandan fishermen at Rweshama Landing.  

In May 2018, the militias attacked the landing site and kidnapped six fishermen. Congolese militiamen often kidnap Ugandan fishermen on the common shared lakes such as Edward George and Albert.

Some of the fishermen are often released when their families part with the ransom demanded by their captors while others end up dead.