Three fishermen lost their lives in Lake Albert after leaping into the water to evade arrest by Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) personnel. The incident occurred when four fishermen, Richard Onen (25), Samson Jatho (35), Godfrey Obedirwoth (28), and Muzamil Jakisa, from Mbegu B landing site in Kabale sub-county, were fishing. While patrolling the lake, FPU personnel, led by Corporal Siraj Katosi, apprehended them, accusing them of using illegal fishing gear.
Intending to take the suspects to their detachment at Kasio landing site, the FPU personnel encountered a tragic turn of events. Fearing detention, all the suspects jumped into Lake Albert. Jakisa managed to swim to the shores, but his three companions are presumed to have drowned.
Moses Onen, LCI Chairperson for Mbegu B landing site, reported that Onen’s body was discovered floating near Mbegu landing site, while the other two bodies remain missing after a search conducted by local fishermen.
Julius Hakiza, Albertine Region Police spokesperson, stated that marine police and fishermen are collaborating to locate the missing bodies. Additionally, an investigation has been initiated into the actions of the FPU operatives.
This incident follows a similar tragedy in November 2021, where a fisherman, known as Owonda from Kijangi landing site in Tonya parish, Buseruka sub-county, Hoima district, died upon seeing an approaching Fisheries Protection Unit crew. The FPU personnel accused them of using illegal fishing gear, prompting Owonda to jump into the lake and lose his life.
Since President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s directive in 2017 for Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) soldiers to combat illegal fishing, the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) has faced criticism for alleged torture and extortion of money from fishermen. Despite fishermen claiming mistreatment, the FPU denies these allegations.
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- Business Aggrey" is a 23-year-old Ugandan journalist and Editor-in-Chief at The Black Examiner newspaper
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