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Ugandan Fishermen Demand Immediate Release of 16 Abducted Colleagues :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Ugandan Fishermen Demand Immediate Release of 16 Abducted Colleagues

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John Kato, a fisherman at Sebigoro landing site in Kikuube district, says the fate of the fishermen is unknown since they haven’t heard from them since Saturday. He wants the government to immediately intervene and compel the Congolese government authorities to set the fishermen free.
Some of the Engines recovered from DR Congo in 2019.These engines had been robbed by suspected Armed Congolese.Photo by Emmanuel Okello.

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Fishermen in Hoima and Kikuube districts are demanding the immediate release of their colleagues who were abducted by suspected Congolese Militiamen from Lake Albert waters. 

The sixteen Ugandan fishermen were abducted by the militiamen at gunpoint near Kaiso and Kijangi landing sites in Buseruka sub-county Hoima district and Sebigoro landing site in Kabwoya sub-county Kikuube district in the wee hours of last Saturday. 

The gunmen ordered the fishermen to surrender their fishing gear before robbing 20 engines and 20 fishing boats.  The militiamen later crossed with the Ugandan Fishermen and their loot to Tchomia landing site in Bunia district Ituri province in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.  

They are now demanding for ransom to release the fishermen. Now, fishermen in both districts have called for the unconditional release of the fishermen by Congolese authorities. John Kato, a fisherman at Sebigoro landing site in Kikuube district, says the fate of the fishermen is unknown since they haven’t heard from them since Saturday.

He wants the government to immediately intervene and compel the Congolese government authorities to set the fishermen free.

//Cue in: “The government should…  

Cue out:…them rescue them,”//  

Fred Mujuni, the Chairperson Kaiso Landing Site Fishing Community, says the attacks on Ugandan fishermen have persisted for long despite several peace talks held between the two countries over Lake Albert.  He wants both countries to demarcate their boundaries to save Ugandan fishermen from persistent attacks by the Congolese.  

Vincent Wanzala, a fisherman at Kijangi landing site in Hoima district, says he fears for the life of the abducted fishermen, saying they could be killed if no immediate action is taken by the Ugandan government to save them.

//Cue in: “Twe tuku saba…


 

Cue out:…Bantu byaitu babo,”//    

Geoffrey Kumakech, the Buseruka Sub County LC 5 Councilor, says the situation on the Lake Albert is out of their hands and needs the intervention of both governments to handle the fragile situation. Richard Tabaro, the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner, says they are already in talks with the Congolese government authorities to secure the release of the Ugandan fishermen and repatriate them.

Attacks by Congolese militia on the Lake Albert waters have been rampant since 2018.   In April, two suspected Congolese militiamen were gunned down on Lake Albert waters in Hoima district. The duo was gunned down in a fire exchange between the militia and Uganda People’s Defense Forces- UPDF soldiers. Five other militia members were arrested by the UPDF while on the lake.

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