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Family pays ransom to Congolese gunmen as fresh kidnap hits Kanungu

Satellite photo showing the location and distance on Kanungu district from Kampala

KANUNGU – A family in Kanungu District on Tuesday paid a ransom of UGX3.5 million to suspected Congolese gunmen to release their two children whom they had kidnapped.

The gunmen on Easter Monday kidnapped Ronald Niwagaba, 18, and Dan Tweheyo, 16, all sons of Mr Enos  Mirimo, a resident of Nyabirehe cell in Kanyantorogo sub-county, Kanungu district. They then demanded ransom of $3,000 (about UGX10m).

According to Kigezi region police spokesman Elly Maate, the gunmen were calling the family using an MTN Uganda simcard.

“Last evening, the relatives of the victims told the police that the kidnapped were rescued after paying a ransom of Shs3.5M= and all of them were in good health. Police inquiries in the matter is still going on because the kidnap case had been registered as CRR078/2019,” Mr Maate said on Wednesday.

The incident comes hardly a month after gunmen kidnapped an American and Ugandan tourist from Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kanungu district. They demanded for $500,000 (UGX1.9b) as ransom. The duo was freed after ransom was paid.

The district vice chairman, Mr Gad Byomuhangi, attributed the increased cases of kidnaps in his district to laxity in security in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He said that some Ugandans could be behind the increased cases of kidnaps for a ransom because they easily cross into the Democratic Republic of Congo where nobody questions them.

“There is need a for a security meeting with all the community members along the Ugandan border with the Democratic Republic of Congo because it is as if some Ugandans are behind the numerous kidnaps. How come a Congolese national to know that a Ugandan has sold his two cows before demanding for a ransom from him? This means that some Ugandans either directly involved or acting indirectly as agents of the Congolese militia men” Mr Byomuhangi said.

Kanungu Deputy Resident District Commissioner Emmy Ngabirano said further investigations are ongoing.

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