2 February 2013

Zambia: 50 Zambian Fishermen Detained in DRC

MORE than 50 Zambians have been detained in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after they were caught fishing illegally on Lake Mweru.

Nchelenge District Commissioner Joseph Chisakula, confirmed the development in Nchelenge yesterday.

Mr Chisakula said the 55 men were captured in two separate incidents by Congolese marine soldiers after they were found fishing on the Zambian side of the lake.

He said the first batch of 27 fishermen was apprehended from Kashilu village on January 17, this year, while the latest group of 28 fishermen was picked up from Chinsamba and Kabeke villages on Kilwa Island on Wednesday this week.

Information received so far is that 27 of the fishermen were initially detained in the DRC's Kashobwe area but were later taken to Kipushi.

Mr Chisakula said 12 of the fishermen had been detained in Nkole, while the remaining 16 were detained at Kilwa Mulenga Island.

He said Government had engaged its Congolese counterparts to secure the release of the fishermen.

Mr Chisakula has, meanwhile, taken a swipe at the fishermen for engaging in fishing activities while the fishing ban was still in force.

He said Government had been spending huge sums of money each year in securing the release of fishermen caught fishing illegally during the ban.

Mr Chisakula urged the fishermen to consider diversifying their economic activities by also engaging in activities such as crop production and animal husbandry.

The Zambian and Congolese governments, which enforce the fishing ban simultaneously, have made an agreement to conduct joint patrols on Lake Mweru.

ZANIS

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