The Office of the Resident District Commissioner in Rukungiri District has delivered 79 boat engines and more than 60 fishing nets that were confiscated from Congolese fishermen on Lake Edward by the UPDF Marine forces during their operation against illegal fishing on the lake.
These items were handed over to the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo by Mwesigwa Asiimwe, who represented the RDC Rukungiri, at the Rweshama landing site in Bwambara sub-county, Rukungiri District.
Asiimwe stated that this action reflects Uganda’s commitment to improving its relations with neighboring Congo. However, he cautioned against the continued practice of illegally crossing the borders with fishing equipment. He emphasized that the Ugandan government will continue to protect its water bodies and arrest individuals involved in illegal fishing activities.
Captain Andrew Ijibu, the commander of the Fishing Protection Unit in the Lake Edward sub-sector under UPDF, explained that these boats were seized during their water-based operations as marine security officers.
He mentioned that the Congolese fishermen were apprehended for crossing into Ugandan territory with illegal fishing equipment, which violates Ugandan laws. He emphasized the ongoing efforts to combat illegal fishing, as unchecked illegal fishing would deplete the lakes of fish.
Kenneth Niwagaba, the LC2 chairperson of Rweshama parish in Bwambara sub-county, Rukungiri District, expressed gratitude to the UPDF’s Fishing Protection Unit for their efforts in combating illegal fishing on Lake Edward. He urged Congolese fishermen to adhere to the rules and regulations by using the required fishing gear.
Kambale Kawiri, speaking on behalf of the chairpersons of Congolese fishermen on Lake Edward, appreciated the cooperation between both governments. He noted that many fishermen had lost hope of recovering their gear and thanked Presidents Museveni and Félix Tshisekedi for strengthening the positive relationship among the fishermen who share the border between the DRC and Uganda.
He emphasized the DRC’s commitment to ensuring sufficient security on the water body for the safety of both countries.