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MPs Task UPDF on Harassment of Fishermen

The Bukooli Island MP George Abott Ouma says the UPDF meant to protect the lake have turned to torturing people in the Bukooli islands.

Audio 4

Parliament has tasked the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces-UPDF to explain the continued torture of fishermen.

Several Members of Parliament during the matters of national importance on Tuesday noted that some fishermen are being killed, tortured and money extorted from them by UPDF soldiers. 

The Bukooli Island MP George Abott Ouma says the UPDF which is meant to protect the lake have turned to torturing people in the Bukooli islands. He says there is need to investigate connivance to rob fishermen of their fish products, extorting money from them among others.

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Geoffrey Macho the Busia Municipality MP says the soldiers are committing atrocities in the waters, which has made the government unpopular among the electorate. 

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The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga says that nine fish maw traders who last week petitioned parliament about the actions of the UPDF, were arrested.

Kadaga ordered for arrest of the officers torturing Ugandans. She said the UPDF was also torturing Kenyans in the Kenyan waters.

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The MPs then tasked the UPDF representative in Parliament to answer concerns of harassment by the army.  However, Lt General Ivan Koreta said the actions of torture were individual acts but not UPDF as an institution.

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There have been several concerns arising from the role of the UPDF in restoring order on the waters. The UPDF has on several occasions been accused of indiscriminately conducting arrests, torching houses and confiscating fish products.

In 2015, President Museveni set up the Marine Fisheries Enforcement Unit, a body that is supposed to fight against illegal fishing methods, such as catching immature fish, deployed UPDF enforcement in the lakes to fight illegal fishing.