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Local Leaders: Lack of Uniform Laws Fueling Conflicts on Lake Albert Shores

Bugamubien Esese, the administrator Mahagi territory has promised to work with his Ugandan counterparts to fight insecurity on the lake.
Local authorities in Bullisa, Nebbi and districts in the Democratic Republic of Congo on the shores of Lake Albert are calling for a uniform law to regulate fishing activities on the lake and stem conflicts. The call follows rampant cases of insecurity faced by fishermen on the lake shores. 

Fred Lukumu, the Buliisa LC V chairperson blames the conflicts on disparities in regulations. Lukumu was speaking on Tuesday in a joint security meeting involving officials from Buliisa, Nebbi and Mahagi in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He says harmonizing the policies will stop Ugandan fishermen from blaming DRC law enforcement officers for harassment and theft of their engines and fishing nets. 

Shaban Ofoy, the LC III chairperson Panyimur Sub County says Ugandan fishermen are shying away from doing business with their Congolese counterparts because of harassment by Congolese officials and various taxes levied on their catch. He blames this on the contradictory laws being enforced by the authorities in the two neighboring countries. Ofoy says while in Uganda undersized nets are banned in DRC they are acceptable, which calls for uniform legislation. 

Robert Okumu, the Nebbi LC V chairperson blames the conflicts on the large number of government officials from both countries deployed on the lake. Bugamubien Esese, the administrator Mahagi territory has promised to work with his Ugandan counterparts to fight insecurity on the lake. He says despite the challenges in implementing the laws, this shouldn't cause animosity amongst people from the neighboring countries.

Bugamubien urges Ugandan fishermen not to comply with any illegal tax such as the Ebola tax. Each fisherman is expected to pay UGX 25,000 before crossing into DRC despite the fact that it has not yet been approved by the Congolese president Joseph Kabila. 

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