Maj Gen Kayanja Muhanga, the UPDF overall Commander Operation Shujja, has inspected the on-going construction works for a ferry at Hayibale landing site on River Semliki in Rwebisengo county- Ntoroko district.
Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is working to put the ferry on river Semliki that will connect Uganda and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Maj Gen Kayanja was informed that the ferry will be operational in a few days and will carry loads of not more than 35 tones and 100 passengers.
Speaking in response, he expressed happiness at the progress of the construction works
“This ferry will create a multiplier effect on security and trade between the two countries. Once the ferry is operational, movement of personnel and materials to the operational area will be shortened,” Maj Gen Kayanja observed.
The RDC Ntoroko district Mr. Mesach Kawamara applauded government for the ferry which he said will ease trade between Uganda and DRC.
“I thank government for the quick intervention and people of Ntoroko especially those in Rwebisengo are very excited to have a ferry. This development is going to boost trade between the two countries,” he said.
The King of Mitego kingdom Rutahaba Ibanda, who led a delegation from Democratic Republic of Congo, was overjoyed on the installation of a ferry at Hayibale landing site.
He explained the difficulties his people face while crossing to Uganda through Lake Albert to Ntoroko town.
“The Hema of Congo and Batuku of Uganda are kinsmen and cattle keepers who interact on daily basis. My people have been having difficulties travelling from Bunia across Lake Albert to Ntoroko. Now that the ferry is here, we are going to abandon the longer and risky route,” Omukama Rutahaba explained.
He thanked both President Felix Tshisedi and Yoweri Museveni for the peaceful coexistence between the two countries.
The LC1 chairman for Hayibale village in Bweramule sub county, Moses Bongaliya could not hide his excitement over the new ferry.
He said for the past one week when the construction of ferry started, the village people have already reaped in terms of selling their goods and enjoying the newly constructed road connecting Hayibale landing site to Bundibugyo road.
“My people are very happy with this development. The road has been upgraded and now the ferry is going to shorten the distance to our relatives in Congo. Thank you UPDF and government of Uganda,” said Bongaliya.
The construction of a ferry on river Semuliki comes at a time when UPDF together with FARDC are hunting Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) terrorists in Virunga and Ituri impenetrable forests.
This operation has had a challenge of difficult terrain with steep hills, valleys, numerous rivers and poor roads prolonging lines of communication.
It is envisaged that once the ferry becomes operational, communication will be shortened which will increase the thrust to eliminate ADF from Eastern DRC.