Fishing boats at Butiaba landing site in Buliisa district. most of the fishing boats,engines and nets are always being robbed by suspected DRC Militiamen on the lake Albert waters.Photo by Emmanuel Okello.
of the Fisheries Protection Unit-FPU has helped to combat attacks on Ugandan
fishermen by suspected militiamen from the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC.
Since 2018, suspected DRC militiamen have been raiding Lake Albert waters in
Hoima, Buliisa, Kikuube, and Kagadi districts in the Bunyoro sub-region robbing fishing
gear including boats, fishing nets, and engines among others.
The militiamen also abducted Ugandan fishermen crossing with them to the DRC.
They also shot and killed some of the fishermen who could resist their mission
while others remained with Injuries.
robbing the items, they would cross over with them to DRC before
asking for ransom in order for the affected fishermen to recover the
confiscated fishing gear.
In April 2020 two suspected Congolese militiamen were gunned down on Lake
Albert in Hoima district by Uganda Peoples Defense forces-UPDF soldiers.
Initially, before the deployment of the FPU operatives, three to four cases of
attacks by the suspected DRC militants would be reported every week.
However, since August FPU operations were intensified on Lake
Albert to fight illegal fishing practices, there have been no attacks on
Major Richard Mafabi, the sector commander who is overseeing the FPU operations
on Lake Albert says the persistent attacks by the suspected DRC militiamen
stopped following their routine operation on the lake.
He says that although their major role is to ensure better fishing methods on
the lake, they are also tasked to ensure that the security of the
fishermen on the lake is guaranteed.
//cue in;”The FPU is…
Cue out:…skills we had.”//
Julius Hakiza, the Albertine Region Police Spokesperson admits that ever since
the FPU was deployed on the Lake, the region has not recorded any attacks on
fishermen by the suspected militiamen yet in the past before their deployment,
the attacks were persistent.
//cue in;” That fisheries unit…
Cue out:…and for good.”//
the Chairperson of the Kaiso Landing Site fishing community who is a victim of
the attacks by DRC militiamen says currently they have peace and can carry on
with fishing normally unlike in the past when the attacks were persistent.
Atugonza, a fisherman at Nsonga landing site in Kikuube demands that the FPU
operatives should maintain their deployment on the lake.
In March the militiamen raided the Lake Albert waters abducting 16 Ugandan
Fishermen. They also robbed four fishing boats, four boat engines, and several
sets of fishing nets from the fishermen.
On May 20, 2021, six armed Congolese militiamen robbed 15 boat engines on Lake
Albert. The attack happened at around 5 am near Kaiso landing site in Mbegu
parish Kabaale sub-county Hoima district.
The suspected Congolese militiamen that were dressed in DRC military uniform
raided the lake and placed several fishermen at gunpoint, and ordered them to
surrender the boat engines to them.