Militiamen from the Democratic Republic of Congo are demanding ransom in order to return the 19 boat engines they robbed from fishermen on Lake Albert last Sunday.
The militiamen raided the Lake on March 21, 2021, near the Kaiso Landing Site in Hoima district and robbed the boat engines from Ugandan fishermen, who were held at gunpoint. The attackers crossed into the Democratic Republic of Congo after the incident.
Since then, efforts by Ugandan fishermen to recover their engines have been futile. Now Fred Mujuni, the Chairman of the Kaiso Landing Site fishing community says that the militiamen are demanding USD 50 for each of the confiscated engines before they are returned to the owners.
Philemon Kazingufu, one of the affected fishermen says he currently cannot afford to raise the pay. In the same vein, Cyrus Ashaba, another fisherman, asked the government to intervene and engage counterparts in DRC to have the engines released.
Julius Hakiza, the Albertine region police spokesperson says that security teams are already in talks with their DRC counterparts to have the confiscated engines returned to the affected fishermen at no cost.
On March 14, 2021, four-armed Congolese militiamen raided the lake abducting 16 Ugandan fishermen. They also robbed four fishing boats and four engines. The abducted fishermen were detained for a week at the Tchomia Landing Site in Bunia district and released after each paid USD 50.
Similar events unfolded in October 2020 when armed militiamen raided Lake Albert, abducted 16 fishermen, robbed 20 boat engines and 20 fishing boats.