BY ALEX BALUKU
Ugandan authorities have deported 26 Congolese fishermen after five months of detention in Katwe –Kabatooro Town Council.
They were handed on Friday to the DRC authorities by the Kasese Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Joshua Kisembo Masereka at the Mpondwe – Border. According to the RDC, the release of the fishermen follows mutual understanding and cooperation between the Ugandan President and his Congolese counterpart, Felix Tshisekedi
Masereka told the Congolese authorities that the 26 fishermen who were released yesterday are last batch of over 180 that were arrested on the Ugandan waters.
He also refuted some allegations that some of the detainees had died in the Ugandan cells. The RDC warned the Congolese fishermen to stop invading the Ugandan waters to carry out illegal fishing activities, adding that the Ugandan authorities will not stop arresting them whenever they are caught on the Ugandan waters.
According to him, during the previous operations, they have been confiscating illegal fishing gears from the Congolese fishermen but later give them back to their owners but to his disappointment the same fishing gears reappear on the Ugandan waters. Masereka observed that most of the deportees were aged below 30 years, forcing the RDC to challenge them to go back to school and complete their studies.
One of the deportees who talked to our reporter appreciated the efforts by the two governments to come to a consensus of releasing them, adding that what they had gone through was not something easy to narrate.
Speaking to the press after receiving the detainees on behalf of the Congolese authorities, a Migration Officer from the DR Congo, only identified as Mr. Desire promised to continue sensitizing and warning their the people against the poor methods of fishing and crossing into the Ugandan waters.