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Six Ugandan fishermen abducted by
suspected Congolese militia: police

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- At least six Ugandan fishermen were captured on Saturday by suspected Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) militiamen on a common border lake that links the two neighboring countries, a police spokesperson said here on Sunday.

Patrick Onyango, Uganda’s deputy police spokesperson, told Xinhua that suspected Congolese Mai-Mai militia kidnapped the fishermen on Lake Albert, located at the Uganda and DRC common border.

He said the six fishermen from Rweshama village in the western district of Rukungiri whose whereabouts remain unknown were abducted with their engine motor boat.

“The kidnappers are suspected to be Mai-Mai militias. The BISO’s (Border Internal Security Officer) office is linking up with Congolese local authorities for their safe release,” said Onyango.

There have been abductions, fights and accusations between the two countries over a disputed border water area believed to have huge oil deposits.

Authorities in Kampala and their Kinshasa counterparts have in the past agreed to conduct joint operations by fisheries and security officials to prevent clashes and disagreements over fishing in the disputed area, which both countries claim ownership.



Congo refugees in Rwanda register for repatriation

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- At least 30 percent of Congo refugees in Kiziba Refugee Camp in in Karongi district in western Rwanda have registered to repatriate to their country, an official said on Thursday.

Appearing before the Parliamentary National Budget and Patrimony Committee over the 2018-2019 Budget Framework Paper, Olivier Kayumba, the Permanent Secretary in Rwanda’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, said the registration is being done by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in liaison with the Government of Rwanda and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for voluntary repatriation.

“Some refugees asked for voluntary repatriation; UNHCR started registration exercise and 30 percent have been registered,” he said.

The UNHCR would discuss with the government of DRC on secure resettlement areas for those repatriating, said Kayumba.

De Bonheur Jeanne D’Arc, Rwanda’s minister in charge of refugee affairs, stressed that refugees have a right to voluntary repatriation as long as their security is assured.

The date of repatriation remains unclear, according to the minister.

The Kiziba camp hosts over 17,000 refugees, around 77 percent of whom are women and children, according to the UNHCR.

In February, five people were killed and 22 others wounded as protests by refugees from the Kiziba refugee camp turned violent, according to the police.

The protests were caused by different purposes beyond reduced food rations, the cause reported earlier, such as wanting to return to home country or to be resettled in Europe and America while maintaining Rwandan citizenship, said Rwanda’s foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo.


Seven Democratic Republic of Congo refugees
drown in Zambia after boat capsize

LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) -- Seven refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have drowned after a boat they were in capsized in a lake in Zambia’s Chiengi district in Luapula Province, the police said on Saturday.

Esther Mwaata-Katongo, Zambia Police Spokesperson said the victims were part of 35 refugees from a transit refugee center in Zambia’s Nchelenge district in the same province who left the camp without authorization and hired a boat which is believed to have been overloaded.

According to the police spokesperson, four bodies, all juveniles with the youngest being 17-months-old, have since been retrieved while the search for the others has continued.

She said the accident happened when a small boat which was carrying luggage and a few people and was being towed by an engine boat capsized due to strong winds before the engine boat also capsized, resulting in the drowning of the victims.

She added that 22 people survived the accident while the coxswain of the boat has been detained for the offense of causing death by dangerous navigation.

The small boat is not yet retrieved, she added.


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