Fisheries Protection Unit- FPU in Serere has shot and injured a fishmonger in Labor Sub County, Serere district.
Tom Ejigu was shot in the leg while carrying fish on his motorcycle along Ochapa Road, according to a police officer in Serere who spoke on condition of
He says the incident happened last evening when the fishmonger refused to be checked
by the FPU officers who were carrying out an operation against illegal fishing
on Lake Kyoga.
“He was carrying six jerrycans, presumably water but the officers got
suspicious and followed him to cross-check. He, however, resisted the arrest
and continued riding faster, forcing the officers to open fire, injuring him in the leg”,
the police officer said.
Serere Resident District Commissioner, Geoffrey Okiswa, says the fishmonger was admitted to Amakio Health Centre in the evening. He was later referred
to Soroti Regional Referral Hospital.
Okiswa revealed that illegal fishing is still practised in different parts of
the district including Mulondo Landing Site, where Ejigu reportedly brought
the fish from.
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Since January this year, at least six fishermen have lost lives in Serere district after drowning in
Lake Kyoga while carrying out illegal fishing. Some
trading centres in the district now sell fish in the open as fishermen along
the lake shores conduct illegal fishing.
Fishing on Lake Kyoga was suspended in January to pave way for modern fishing
with proven fishing gear. In Serere, construction of recommended boats started
early this month in Kagwara Landing Site.
In 2017, President Yoweri Museveni directed the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) to deploy on
Ugandan lakes to combat illegal fishing practices to protect the fish resource
that was under threat of depletion.
UPDF then set up the Unit to combat illegal fishing operations on various lakes
including Victoria, Edward, George and Kyoga. The unit also operates on fish
trade routes and markets to stop the sale of immature fish.
However, members of the unit have come under criticism for
brutality. In January, a cabinet committee was set up to investigate complaints
against the Unit.