Kanungu kidnap victims released after paying Shs3.5m ransom

Wednesday April 24 2019

The spokesman for police in Kigezi area, Mr

The spokesman for police in Kigezi area, Mr Elly Maate 

By Robert Muhereza & Naume Biira

The two children who were kidnapped on Easter Monday from Kanungu District have been released after their families paid Shs3.5 million ransom.

The two children, both Primary Seven pupils of Rukarara Primary School in Kanyantorogo Sub County, Kanungu District had been abducted by suspected Congolese militiamen before demanding for about Shs11m ($3,000) ransom.

The Police spokesman for Kigezi sub-region, Mr Elly Maate confirmed the development and identified the victims as Ronald Niwagaba and Dan Tweheyo.

"The kidnappers called the family members of kidnap victims using the Uganda MTN line and demanded for a ransom of about Shs11m ($3,000). On Tuesday evening, the relatives of the victims told the police that the kidnapped had been released after paying a ransom of Shs3.5m and that all of them were in good health,” Mr Maate said.

He added that Police are still investigating circumstance under which the two children were kidnapped and released after the kidnappers were paid ransom. The kidnap case had been registered as CRR078/2019.

The Kanungu Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Mr Emmy Ngabirano, said that security was in touch with the family members of the victims before they were released. He said some kidnaps are related to disagreements between Ugandan and Congolese nationals whom they trade with while others stem from failed local farming deals.


"We have been told that some Ugandans hire land in the Democratic Republic of Congo for agriculture and in some cases, the Congolese nationals kidnap Ugandan farmers in case they fail to pay rental fees to force their relatives clear the debts. All this shall be investigated and we shall come out with a way forward,” Mr Ngabirano said.

In the contrary, the Kanungu District LCV vice chairman, Mr Gad Byomuhangi attributed the wave of kidnaps in the district to security laxity in the DRC. He said that some Ugandans could be behind the increased cases of kidnap for a ransom because they easily cross into DRC where nobody questions them.

"I suspect it’s Ugandans behind these kidnaps in the disguise of the Congolese militiamen. How come one was kidnapped after his father sold two cows. This means that some Ugandans are either directly or indirectly involved in the kidnaps," Mr Byomuhangi said.

He said that once all people at the border cooperate with the Ugandan security operatives and the local leaders, cases of kidnap shall reduce. He named Nyanga, Kanyantorogo, Butogota and Kayonza as the most affected Sub Counties in Kanungu District with high cases of kidnap.

Last month in the same district, unknown gunmen in Queen Elizabeth National Park kidnapped an American tourist and her driver before demanding for a ransom of $500,000 (Shs1.9b).
Ms Kimberly Sue Endicott and the driver Jean-Paul Mirenge were later released.