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Ntoroko Residents Want FPU Operations Halted

They argue that they can longer access the lake following the deployment of the Unit which has affected their livelihood.
12 Aug 2022 17:59

Audio 6

Residents of Kanara and Butungama sub-counties in Ntoroko District have asked the government to take action against UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit for alleged harassment and torture.

They argue that they can longer access the lake following the deployment of the Unit which has affected their livelihood. 

Jacob Musingizi, one of the fishermen on Lake Albert, says that when floods hit the district in September 2019 majority of their properties both nets and boats were destroyed and they were left with nothing.

Musinguzi says in spite of the government failing to provide the flood victims with essential basics like food, shelter, and medical care the government instead deployed soldiers on the lake to harass the fishermen.

//Cue in: hanu nka Katanga…

Cue out : Naija Kulyaki”//

Joseph Irumba, also a fisherman on Lake Albert says that the unit is confiscating fish from people in IDP camps yet it is their only source of food.

//Cue in : Twine ebizibu bya abamahe…

Cue out : government ekwenda”//

Haleluya Bagiire, a resident of Kamuga Parish, says as fishermen they feel betrayed by the government for failing to support them in acquiring the recommended fishing tools to enable them to get back to business after three years of flooding.

//Cue in: Amaziima Nyowe…

Cue out : mu government”//  

Deograticious Ssentimba the Fisheries Protection Unit Spokesperson says that the fishermen complaining of brutality want to tarnish the name of the unit. He said that the operations will continue to ensure the illegal fishing activities cease.

//Cue in: when those people talk of…

Cue out:  that one will not stop our operations //

This isn’t the first time soldiers attached to the FPU are being accused of using excessive force and brutalizing fishermen.

In 2020, 68 fishermen sued the government through their lawyer, Abwang Otim of M/S Abwang Otim, Opok, and Co Advocates, demanding Shs1.2 trillion in compensation for alleged torture by Uganda Peoples' Defense Forces (UPDF) soldiers. 

The applicants who were drawn from Amolatar district submitted to Lira High court horrifying images of their colleagues being tortured on the shores of Lake Kyoga. 

The Former Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga then directed the Fisheries Protection Unit to halt its operations on all water bodies in the country for alleged mistreatment of fishing communities.