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Fisheries Police Shoot Fishmonger in Serere

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 anonymity.
RDC Geoffrey Okiswa with the recovered gun Serere recently.

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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 anonymity. 

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.