Congolese Security Officials have released six fishermen who were arrested for fishing on illegal waters
Six Ugandan fishermen who were arrested by Congolese security officials for allegedly fishing in Congo waters on Lake Albert have been released.
The fishermen were arrested on September 6th on Ssenjonjo landing site in Kyangwali Sub County in Hoima district.
They were handed over to Ugandan security officials at Tooro Resort Hotel in Fort Portal town, on Friday evening during a closed door security meeting between DRC and Uganda.
The fishermen, who looked frail and dressed in tattered clothes, are Robert Kyaligonza, of Kigwera in Buliisa district, Vincent Odaga of Okoro in Zombo district and Bero Cotolumu also of Zombo. Others are Shaban Ringe of Kijangi in Hoima district, James Opari of Biiso in Buliisa district and Lampard Odaga of Akoro in Nebbi district.
Handing over the fishermen to Wilson Kwanya, the Western Region Police Commander, Stanislaus Bushabu, the district commissioner for Irumu district in Bunia, DRC said that the fishermen were released following the release of 28 Congolese fishermen by the Uganda government, who were arrested in July on the Ugandan side of Lake Albert near Katanga Rwangara in Ntoroko district.
Kwanya says that in order to avoid future arrests of fishermen from both countries, security officials from Uganda and the DRC have agreed to intensify patrols on Lake Albert.
Bushabu says that if in future fishermen from both countries are arrested, the fishermen should be unconditionally released and the charges brought against them should be dropped.
Kyaligonza, one of the released fishermen told Uganda Radio Network that for the two weeks they were held in Bunia, they were being either fed poorly and or even starved.
But the story of the fishermen's story was cut short by security officials who stopped them from talking to jiournalists.
The security officials threatened to confiscate the equipments of the journalists.
The release of the fishermen comes two days after their relatives demanded for their release, claiming that they are being mistreated in Bunia prison.
In the past, there have been several arrests of both Uganda and Congolese fishermen for fishing in illegal waters, which is caused by the undefined boundaries on Lake Albert.
During the security meeting, both countries also discussed some of the challenges they face at the border. On increased cattle thefts from Ntoroko district to DRC, Feddy Garyahandere, the RDC Ntoroko says that cattle without a movement permit will not be allowed to cross the border.
She says that the cattle movement permits will be signed by the district veterinary officer, the police and the district Internal Security Officer.
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