KANUNGU – Armed Congolese men on Saturday kidnapped two schoolchildren in Kanungu District in one of the many security breaches that has puzzled police and the army.
Hardly three months after a group of armed men kidnapped a US tourist in Queen Elizabeth National Park, attracting global headlines, the armed men, donning military fatigue, found Akim Niwagaba, 13, and Ramathan Ayinamani, 10, in a garden with their mother, Joselyne Ampeire, and dragged them away. However, they did not take away the children’s mother.
The kidnapped children are all pupils at Ntungamo Primary School in Butogota Town Council in Kanungu District.
Mr Jackson Tukahirwa, a relative of the kidnapped pupils, on Sunday said the children were on the border side of DR Congo in Bugarama Cell, Munyaga parish, Binza Sub County where they brought land sometime back.
He explained that the kidnappers, as all the past incidents, are interested in ransom.
“We have offered them Shs1M but they are insisting on Shs4m. We are still negotiating with them,” Mr Tukahirwa said in a telephone interview.
Kigezi sub-region police spokesman Elly Maate said that the pupils were kidnapped on Saturday at around mid-day as they were deployed by their parents to chase away birds from destroying their rice gardens. He added that the kidnapped pupils are sons of Mr Seth Bahati a resident of Kyabuyorwa, Eastern ward of Butogota town council in Kanungu district.
The children’s mother, Ms Ampeire, said that she looked on helplessly as her children were dragged away by the two men armed with AK 47 rifles.
As recent as April 22, Congolese militias kidnapped two Ugandans and are since demanding for a ransom of 3,000 US doallars.
Those kidnapped have been identified as Ronald Niwagaba 18 and Dan Tweheyo 15 sons of Mr Enos Mirimo resident of Nyabirehe cell, Kihembe parish, Kanyantorogo subcounty, Kanungu district.
Mr Guard Mirimo the uncle to the victims said that they were kidnapped from his banana plantation of at the border line with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mr Mirimo said that they were part of a group of eight children who were working in the banana plantation.
Mr Guard Mirimo said the abductors used a Ugandan MTN line to demand for a ransom of 3000 US dollars.
On January 7, armed Congolese militia kidnapped a local farmer resident of Munyaga cell western ward of Butogota town council and demanded for a ransom of Shs2M. According to Mr Elly Maate the case of the kidnapped farmer was registered under SD12/07/01/19 at Kanungu district and was released after his relatives paid Shs1.5M= ransom