The Minister of State for Fisheries, Hellen Adoa has commended the efforts UPDF Marines in securing Ugandan fishermen from aggression by criminals who operated on the waters of Lake Albert.
“The UPDF has ably coordinated with their Congolese counterparts to foster good neighborliness. In this way, and through intensified operations on the waters of Lake Albert, they have by far addressed the longstanding problem of Ugandan fishermen being attacked by some people who later escape by crossing to DRC,”Adoa said during a tour to assess the damage caused by floods onto communities on the shores of Lake Albert.
She visited the landing sites of Butiaba, Walukuba, Runga and Kaiso.
In the past, several groups of armed gangs especially from neighbouring DRC have attacked and killed Ugandan fishermen before taking off with their fishing gear or have kidnapped Ugandan fishermen for ransom.
The Minister said the UPDF has done a good job in defeating the gangs that took advantage of the open border to cross to Uganda and terrorise Ugandan fishermen.
The UPDF Marine Brigade Commander, Brig Gen Michael Nyarwa, reiterated the army’s commitment in securing the fishermen against the threats from the criminals operating in the waters.
“We will never get tired or sit back and watch Ugandans suffering in the hands of these outlaws,” Nyarwa said.
He also emphasized the need for continued collaboration between the community and UPDF as well as timely information sharing with security forces to enable them to respond in time.
He also warned of some people impersonating as UPDF Marines officers to extort money from fishermen.
“Be informed that UPDF services are never for a fee. We do not ask for facilitation from the public to perform our duties. The exoneration of persons suspected in crime too is for no charge. Kindly report to us anyone trying to ask for any material thing from you in exchange for a favour or service,” Brig Nyarwa told the leaders of the landing sites.
Brig. Nyarwa also asked the communities to desist from criminal tendencies, especially illegal fishing that expose them to possibilities of being conned.
“Do not put yourselves in situations that will render you targets of the conmen. Besides, why engage in illegal fishing activities? If you say no to illegal fishing practices, you will reap more income.”
Present at the function were the Local Council 5 Chairperson for Bulisa district, Simon Kinene who requested for a speedy intervention by government to avert the effects of the floods ravaging the area.
Also present were Member of Parliament for Buliisa County; Birahwa Mukitale, the acting Director for Fisheries; Edward Rukunya and leaders of the landing sites, among other people.