By Leilah Bbaale
Ugandan fishermen at the Kaiso landing site in Hoima district are struggling to recover 14 boat engines robbed by suspected Congolese militiamen on the Lake Albert waters.
The engines were robbed on May 20, 2021 when the suspected Congolese militiamen raided the Lake Albert waters near Kaiso landing site in Mbegu parish Buseruka Sub County in Hoima district. The militiamen reportedly placed several fishermen at gun point before robbing the engines.
During the attack, the militiamen also robbed three fishing boats, 10 sets of fishing nets and 10 mobile phones belonging to the fishermen. However, three fishing boats were handed back by the militiamen after the owners paid ransom.
According to available information, after executing their mission, the six-armed suspected militia dressed in Congolese military uniform immediately crossed back to the DR Congo side.
Since then, attempts by Ugandan fishermen to recover the engines have proved futile. Some of the affected fishermen include; Richard Okethwengu, Robert Mujuni, Henry Lameck, Robert Ofoi, shalom and Moreen, all attached to Kaiso landing site.
Robert Mujuni, the Chairperson Kaiso landing site fishing community says the affected fishermen do not have money to pay the militiamen in order to recover the engines. He says the militiamen are demanding for US Dollars 500 (Ushs1,850,000) to release each engine.
Robert Ofoi, one of the affected fishermen wonders why the government has left them to suffer in the hands of the suspected Congolese militiamen who have continued to cause untold suffering to them.
Rose Atuhura, also a resident of Kaiso landing site says for long leaders and security operatives have been promising fishermen that they are engaging the Congolese authorities on how the attacks can end in vain.
Julius Hakiza, the Albertine region police spokesperson says currently security is profiling all the attacks that have taken place on the lake and will later come out with appropriate measures to completely eliminate the attacks on Ugandan fishermen while on the lake.