The Ugandan border with the Democratic Republic of Congo was closed in March, as part of a lockdown occasioned by the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Subsequently, the government heavily deployed teams comprising Uganda Peoples Defense Forces-UPDF and Uganda Police Force to guard the closed Border along the shores of Lake Albert.
officers in the Albertine region have warned some of their own against taking
advantage of the ongoing lockdown to
aid illegal activities on the lake Albert.
The Ugandan border with the Democratic Republic of Congo was closed in March, as part of a lockdown occasioned by the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Subsequently, the government heavily deployed
teams comprising Uganda Peoples Defense Forces-UPDF and Uganda Police
Force to guard the closed Border along the shores of Lake Albert.
However, members of the public in
the districts of Kikuube, Hoima and Buliisa have severally accused the UPDF and Police personnel of
conniving with DRC businessmen who continue entering the country through
Lake Albert creating a risk for spreading the COVID-19 virus in the Albertine region.
General Sam Okiding, the Commander of the UPDF Field Artillery Division in Masindi has warned the security teams against engaging in
such illegal activities. Okiding says his office has received complaints from area residents pinning
the officers for soliciting bribes from DRC nationals to allow them to enter
tasked Ugandans settling along the shores of Lake Albert to avail his office with information about officers carrying out illegal activities on
the lake saying the role of the deployed officers is to stop the illegal
entry of DRC nationals and not to facilitate illegalities.
//cue in;” Security
He also called upon the residents to be vigilant and added that the security team cannot
maintain the security of the entire Albertine Graben in isolation.
The Area Resident District Commissioner-RDC Samuel
Kisembo says it is wrong to allow foreign nationals to cross into the country at a time when Uganda is struggling to contain a lethal virus.
Kisembo says that soldiers who were involved in illegalities are under investigation.
//Cue in; ”It
Kisembo, the only activities that are allowed to take place on the lake are day fishing and transportation of Cargo that has been cleared by Uganda
Revenue Authority-URA through the gazetted entry points at Kaiso in Hoima and
Sebigoro in Kikuube.
Apart from day…
Musinguzi, a resident of Kaiso Landing Site says the security personnel
have turned the
lake into a source of livelihood, disregarding all security and social
threats from their activities. He wants the government to allow
fishermen to resume their
normal operations since even the deployment did not come as a solution
to the threats posed by the pandemic.
//Cue in;” It
Kyaligonza, a resident of Bugoma landing site in Kikuube district questions the
role of top security personnel in the region saying they have failed to
supervise their juniors.
//Cue in; ”Batuwera
In April, the
Kikuube district COVID-19 taskforce accused security personnel operating along
the Lake Albert shores of allegedly receiving bribes from the Congolese
nationals to aid their illegal entry into the country something they said is frustrating their efforts of combating the spread of the disease.
Hoima, Buliisa and Kagadi districts in Bunyoro sub-region are at the porous
border points with the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo which
is also battling the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and Ebola Zaire cases.