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COVID-19 Taskforce Considering to Suspend Night Fishing on Lake Albert

James Wanzala, a fisherman at Kijangi landing site, says that the proposed suspension of night fishing operations is good. He, however, wants the COVID-19 Taskforce to come up with appropriate measures to compel fishermen not to cross to the DRC while on the lake.
A fisherman heading for fishing expedition on the Lake Albert waters. The COVID-19 Task force committees are considering suspension of Night fishing on the lake.Photo by Emmanuel Okello.
Hoima District COVID-19 Taskforce is considering suspending night fishing operations on Lake Albert. Richard Tabaro, the Hoima Deputy Resident District Commissioner-RDC told Uganda Radio Network on Wednesday that the lake poses a great risk of spreading the deadly pandemic in the Albertine region.    

He says it has come to their attention that some Ugandan fishermen cross up to the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC where they mix freely with the local community and fishermen before crossing back to Uganda. Tabaro, however, says that the proposal to suspend the night fishing operations will only be implemented after thorough consultations with the fishermen and their leaders.

Tabaro has asked Ugandan fishermen to strictly adhere to the new COVID-19 measures to avoid contracting the virus and spreading it in the region. James Wanzala, a fisherman at Kijangi landing site says that the proposed suspension of night fishing operations is good. He, however, wants the COVID-19 Taskforce to come up with appropriate measures to compel fishermen not to cross to the DRC while on the lake.

Sunday Kumakech, a fisherman at Kaiso landing site wants security to closely monitor and supervise fishing operations during night and day to ensure that no one crosses to DRC. Last week, the Uganda Peoples Defense forces-UPDF, police and other sister security agencies deployed heavily at most landing sites on the lake Albert shores bordering DRC in Bunyoro sub-region. 

The major deployment is at Sebigoro, Kaiso, Ndaiga, Butiaba, Bugoma, Kitebere, and Wanseko landing sites in Hoima, Kagadi, Kikuube and Buliisa districts respectively. The landing sites are the major entry points for Congolese nationals into the country. The deployment is aimed at stopping the illegal entry by Congolese nationals into the country amidst the surge of COVID-19 infections.        

In March 2020, the District Security Committees in Hoima, Kagadi, Buliisa and Kikuube suspended fishing activities on Lake Albert to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.  The decision was reached after the COVID-19 Taskforce committees realized that Ugandan fishermen were crossing to DRC where they would mix freely with their counterparts while on the Lake.

  The COVID-19 Taskforce committees also suspended boat transport on the lake for a period of 32 days. Hoima, Buliisa, Kikuube, Nebbi, Ntoroko and Kagadi districts share porous borders with DRC.