Ugandan fishermen operating on the Lake Albert waters in the districts of Hoima, Kikuube, Kagadi, Buliisa and Ntoroko have lost about 213 boat engines to armed thugs from DR Congo between 2016 and 2020, UPDF’s Marine department has stated.
Brigadier Micheal Nyarwa, the Commander UPDF Marines in an interview with Uganda Radio Network -URN explains that of the 213 engines robbed by the armed Congolese thugs on Lake Albert, only 76 had been recovered from DR Congo authorities by May 2020.
He said according to the statistics 75 of the engines were recovered after their owners were forced to pay ransom while one was recovered by Uganda peoples defense forces-UPDF while carrying out operations on the lake.
The engines were robbed and taken to either Tchomia or Kasenyi landing sites in Bunia district, Ituri province situated in the Eastern part of DR Congo.
According to Nyarwa, the victims are forced to pay up to 500 US Dollars to recover each boat engine from some Congolese government authorities. He says Ugandan Authorities have identified some of the key officials in DR Congo who benefit from the ransom paid by Ugandan fishermen to recover their engines.
He says for instance at Kiina landing site alone in, Kyangwali sub county Kikuube district between 2016 and May 2020, fishermen there were compelled to pay millions of money to recover 6 boat engines and 4 fishing boats that had been robbed by suspected armed Congolese thugs on the lake.
Brigadier Nyarwa says the situation has impoverished Ugandan fishermen who are being robbed by the Congolese thugs.
He said the UPDF Marines department will soon come up with a comprehensive mechanism of addressing the issue and ensure that no more attacks are carried on Ugandan fishermen while on Lake Albert waters.
He says according to intelligence findings, armed Congolese cross almost to landing sites in Uganda to carry out illegal activities.