Two suspected Congolese militiamen have been shot dead in a fire exchange with the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) Marines enforcing the presidential directive of border closure.
Another five were captured alive including one who sustained a bullet wound.
The Hoima Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr Samuel Kisembo Araali, says the clash occurred yesterday afternoon between Kaiso-Tonya and Kyehooro landing sites in Buseruka Sub-county, Hoima District.
According to him, security was tipped off by fishermen at the neighouring Kijangi landing site where the militiamen had robbed a boat engine from fishermen in an hour’s time.
Three AK-47 rifles, 49 rounds of ammunition and a robbed boat engine were recovered from the militiamen.
Three of the gunmen were clad in attire similar to Congolese police uniform.
The injured is receiving treatment in an isolation ward at Hoima Regional Referral Hospital while the four unhurt captives remain in isolation at Hoima regional police detention centre for fear that they could be carrying coronavirus.
These will be taken to the gazzetted isolation centre and quarantined for 14 mandatory days before they are tried on two counts of illegal entry into the country and aggravated robbery.
Mr Kisembo says the Ugandan authorities are liaising with the Governor of Ituri Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to ascertain whether the suspected militiamen belong to the Congolese National Forces or are bandits.
The authorities will also arrange how the bodies of the shot suspected militiamen can be transported to the DRC for burial as they look for the fate of the captives.
The RDC sounded government’s commitment to ensure that security is guaranteed for the fishermen so that they can do their job without fear from armed men from DRC.
It has been a common practice for armed men from DRC side of Lake Albert to attack Ugandan fishermen robbing them of their fishing gears.
Mr Solomon Wamara, an elder fisherman attributes the victory to the outbreak of coronavirus that forced government to boost security on borders – a demand fishermen had longed for, for nearly four years without any response.
Mr Wamara asked the government of Uganda to ensure that security at the lake continues to be tight even after the coronavirus pandemic.