The Kyotera LC V Chairman, Patrick Kintu Kisekulo has threatened to incite residents against Uganda People’s Defense Force soldiers involved in illegall fishing operations. The UPDF officers were deployed by President Yoweri Museveni two years ago Nuwagaba to stop illegal fishing operations
The team is led by Major James Nuwagaba. President Museveni deployed the soldiers after several fishermen were implicated for using the banned fishing gears to catch immature fish.
The indiscriminate fishing activities on landing sites in Kalangala, Masaka, Kyotera, Mukono, Jinja and Wakiso district caused a huge reduction in the fish yields resulting in the closure of some fish processing plants.
To save the lake from depletion, Museveni instituted a Fisheries Protection Unit to arrest and prosecute those involved in catching immature fish for export to the Democratic Republic Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan. The operations have registered huge success and improved fish stocks in Lake Victoria.
But in Kyotera, district officials are accusing UPDF soldiers of abusing their powers in the execution of their mandate. Patrick Kintu Kisekulo, the Kyotera LCV Chairman has petitioned the Agriculture, Fisheriies and Animal Husbandry Minister, Vincent Ssempijja warning of violence if the UPDF soldiers are not withdrawn.
He says although the UPDF soldiers have done a commendable job, some of them are allegedly involved in torturing fishermen. Kisekulo also claimed that some of the soldiers are mistreating even fishmongers with licenses and permits who sale mature fish in Kyotera central market.
According to Kisekulo, several fishmongers in Kasensero and Kyotera markets are now jobless because of harassment by the UPDF solders. He warned the minister during the official opening of Kasolo Foundation training facility in Kyotera to reign in on the soldiers or else he will incite the fishermen to rise against them.
Kisekulo’s outburst was welcomed with jubilation from the residents. Some of the residents were overheard saying,”thank you chairman for letting the minister know. We are suffering. We are jobless at the hands of brutal UPDF soldiers.”
Ssempijja promised to follow up the allegations. Maj .James Nuwagaba, the Commandant of the Fisheries Protection Unit hasn’t yet commented as he couldn’t be reached.