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Government Operatives Cited in Illegal Fish Trade :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Government Operatives Cited in Illegal Fish Trade

Residents of Kalangala and Rakai district have disclosed the involvement of UPDF soldiers and police in smuggling and transportation of immature.
Fishermen accuse UPDF soldiers of involvement in immature fish deals

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UPDF soldiers and police have been implicated in the smuggling and transportation of immature in Kalangala and Rakai district. The implicated soldiers and cops are attached to Masaka armored brigade and Masaka Central Police station respectively.  Residents identify, some of the implicated UPDF soldiers involved in immature fish trade as Mikdadi Katongole and one Mushambo.

 

Residents at Kachanga landing site in Bukakata Sub County also accuse UPDF soldiers and policemen deployed at the ferry to impound immature fish of providing security to trucks transporting immature fish.  Moses Mugerwa, a resident of Bugoma landing site in Kalangala claims that on Monday and Thursday every week, UPDF soldiers and police transport immature fish from Kalangala to unknown location.

 

He says that the immature fish is usually transported on the early morning ferry at 4am and loaded on two numberless trucks at 5am on both days. Mugerwa says at Kachanga, the two numberless trucks are then escorted by two private saloon cars occupied by UPDF soldiers.  A taxi driver who plies the same route but declined to be named for fear of being targeted by the soldiers says that they have reported the matter to Deo Kayiwa Nsereko, Kalangala RDC and his Masaka counterpart Bamusedde Bwambale but nothing has been done to stop this immature fish trade.

He alleges that a UPDF soldier threatened to shoot a resident last when he asked him why their fish trucks are never checked at Kachanga Road block. Jackson Baguma, the Kalangala District Fisheries Officer has declined to comment on immature fish smuggling involving security operatives saying his life would be in danger. The situation is not any different in Rakai district. Mathias Kasamba, the Kakuuto Member of parliament claims that over 200 fishermen have petitioned him demanding his intervention to stop UPDF soldiers from trading in immature fish.

He also points out Mikdadi Katongole, as one of the soldiers involved in fish smuggling. Kasamba says that in addition to smuggling immature fish, the soldiers also torture and extort money from residents found dealing in immature fish.

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Efforts by URN reporter to get a comment from some of implicated officers were futile as they could not be reached on phone.But Lt. James Jjuuko, the Masaka Armored Brigade Spokesperson denies the involvement of the army in illegal fish deals. He has however promised to get in touch with police to investigate the claims against the names soldiers.

 

Alex Twebaze, Rakai DPC also denies the involvement of police in immature fish smuggling saying that the practice stopped when police established a special marine unit.

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