DRC soldiers hold 16 Zambians
CONGOLESE soldiers are holding 16 Zambian fishermen captive for allegedly straying into that country while on a fishing expedition. The Congolese authorities have demanded a KR135, 000 penalty fee for the release of the fishermen from Nsama District, that strayed onto the Congolese side of Lake Tanganyika. The initial number of the captive fishermen was 18 but two escaped from the marine soldiers that rounded them up and charged them with illegal fishing.
Nsama District Commissioner Panji Chilingala, who confirmed the incident said the fishermen were rounded up on May 12, 2013, while on a fishing expedition.
The duo that escaped from detention on the Congolese side had since returned to Zambia.
Families of the captured fishermen have appealed for Government assistance in providing the ransom or find other means of intervention that would see their family members released.
About nine boats comprising four units each had been impounded.
Mr Chilingala said the chief of post where the detainees were being held was also demanding KR15, 000 per boat before the vessels and crew members could be released.
“Our fear is that since some of the fishermen are escaping from custody, they could be killed in the process of attempting to get back home,” Mr Chilingala said.
Local fishermen have asked Government to institute a delimitation exercise to clearly mark Zambia’s borderline with its neighbour.
By NORMA SIAME