UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit releases 14 Congolese Nationals arrested over allegations of illegal fishing on Lake Edward


The UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit has released 14 Congolese nationals who were recently arrested from Lake Edward in Kasese district on allegations of illegal fishing.

They were released yesterday and handed over to the Congolese authorities at a function that was held in Katwe – K’abatooro Town Council. At the same function, the Congolese authorities also handed over 04 Ugandan nationals to the Uganda authorities who were arrested over the same on the Congolese side.

The UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit Spokesperson, Lt. Lauben Ndifula, explained that in addition to releasing the suspects, they also handed over 68 boat engines, 07 boats and 67 fuel tanks while the Congolese government released 16 boat engines, 05 boats, and 10 fuel tanks.

Lt. Col. Charles Euta Omeonga , the Administrator of Beni Territory who received the suspects on behalf of the Congolese government commended the cooperation between the two sister countries.

He, however, warned the Congolese fishermen against illegal fishing activities in Uganda, arguing that Congo takes the largest size of the lake that is estimated at 75% against the Ugandan size which is 25%.

While, handing over the suspects, the Kasese RDC, Lt. Joe Walusimbi revealed that President Museveni directed them to maintain the bilateral relations with DRC.  Lt. Walusimbi cautioned both the communities in Congo and Uganda against using poor methods of fishing.

In her remarks, the Rubirizi Deputy RDC, Ms Robinah Mirembe, encouraged the two communities to take fishing as an economic activity for improved livelihoods. She, however, observed need for the two governments to devise means of handling people who fail to adhere to the fishing guidelines in both countries.

Stephen Katesigwa, the Coordinator for Fishermen at Lakes Edward, George and Kazinga Channel, argued that the continued arrests of fishermen from both Uganda and DRC affects their business activities since the boats are held for quite a long time.

He asked the authorities from the two countries to put in place mechanisms that would see fishing activities take place without being interrupted.


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