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Illegal Fuel Store Likely Source of Kigungu Fire-Police

Luke Owoyesigire, the Kampala Metropolitan Area Deputy Spokesperson, says that preliminary investigations by the Police Fire and Rescue Services indicate that the fire started from a house where fuel had been stored.
Area leaders and volunteers from Uganda Red Cross Society discuss at the landing site

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The fire that gutted over 300 temporary structures and shops in Ndese landing site in Entebbe municipality on Sunday could have started from fuel stored in one of the houses, according to the Uganda Police Force

 

The fire broke out on Kigungu village, which is less than ten kilometers from Entebbe International Airport on December 5th leaving close to 700 fishermen and traders out in the cold. Luke Owoyesigire, the Kampala Metropolitan Area Deputy Spokesperson, says that preliminary investigations by the Police Fire and Rescue Services indicate that the fire started from a house where fuel had been stored.

 

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According to Owoyesigire, people dealing in fuel should ensure they are operating legally and store fuels safely to help prevent fires in the future. He says that that investigation is still ongoing to determine the owner and operators of the structure that was housing the illegal fuel. 

Fishermen and boat operators have been using the illegal fuels to operate speed boats on Lake Victoria and to various routes including Buwaya, Bussi island, and Kalangala among other areas. Firemen from Entebbe main police station and Uganda Civil Aviation Authority-UCAA managed to put out the fire after two hours. 

Owoyesigire however says that putting out the fire was difficult because the structures were very close to each other.  However, some of the residents blame the police for responding late and demanding the already distressed fishermen and traders facilitate them.

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Robert Kiggundu the chairperson of Uganda Red Cross Society Entebbe Branch, says volunteers will make a full assessment on the impact of the fire. The report will guide the organization, authorities, and well-wishers on how to help the affected people.

But it is evident that several houses were razed down. Charles Magumba, the Entebbe Town Clerk, Michael Kakembo, the Entebbe Municipality MP, and Entebbe mayor, Fabrice Rulinda were among the officials who visited the landing site on Monday.

Kakembo wants the Office of the Prime Minister, the general public, local leaders, and technocrats to donate relief items to the affected people.  “Many structures, boats, fishing nets, engines were destroyed and hundreds of families were left without shelter. So, we call upon the disaster preparedness office to come to the rescue of these people because they don’t even have what to eat right now,” he said.

Richard Ssekyondo, the chairperson of Division B in Entebbe municipality, agrees, saying "there is nothing left at the landing site and right they are still perturbed as leaders because close to 1,000 people do not have where to stay.

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He says Ndese landing site is home to several traders, fishermen, and people who the army relocated from the "floating islands" of Makusa and Lyamuya nearly four years ago.

Ssekyondo says the affected people are stranded because they hardly have anywhere else to stay since the army has occupied Makusa and Lyamuya islands. Some of the affected people spoke to the media about their plight and want the government and other well-meaning individuals and institutions to come to their rescue.

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Deogratius Puwata, the Executive Director of Disability Community for Humanity-DCH in Entebbe, says over 15 persons living with disabilities were also affected.   

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