Amlan Tumusiime, the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner-RDC told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Friday Morning that they resolved to suspend water transport on the lake to prevent the further spread of the pandemic. There are currently 25 cases of COVID-19 in the district, eight of whom are health workers, nine humanitarian workers, a police officer and members of the public.
Transport boats on Lake Albert.The Kikuube COVID-19 Taskforce has suspended water transport in the district.Photo by Emmanuel Okello.
The Kikuube district COVID-19 Taskforce has
suspended water transport across Lake Albert
following the surging cases of COVID-19 in the district and the country at
large. Kikuube shares a porous border point with the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC which is also battling the same pandemic.
Amlan Tumusiime, the Kikuube Resident District
Commissioner-RDC told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Friday Morning that they resolved
to suspend water transport on the lake to prevent the further spread of the
pandemic. There are currently 25 cases of
COVID-19 in the district, eight of whom are health workers, nine humanitarian workers, a
police officer and members of the public.
According to Tumusiime, there are many boats transporting businessmen
between the district and the DRC which he says poses a great risk of
escalating the pandemic in the area. He says they have deployed Uganda
Peoples Defence forces-UPDF soldiers and the police on the lake and
along the shores at
all landing sites to monitor the entry points.
“We have suspended water transport on the lake in our district for a period of 42-days... these
boat transporters are currently posing the bigger risk of spreading the pandemic
between the two countries. No boat will be allowed to cross from Kikuube to
DR Congo nor from DR Congo to Kikuube,” Tumusiime said.
On Wednesday, the
Hoima District COVID-19 Taskforce said it was considering suspending
night fishing on the lake as a means of preventing the further spread
of the deadly COVID-19
Pandemic in the district. According to Richard Tabaro, the Hoima Deputy
District Commissioner-RDC, some Ugandan
fishermen cross up to the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC where they
freely with the local community and fishermen before crossing back to
However, according to the Taskforce committee,
the proposal to suspend the night fishing operations will only be implemented
after thorough consultations with the fishermen and their leaders.
Hoima district currently has 124
COVID-19 cases. Of these only eight are being attended to at the Hoima regional
Referral hospital COVID-19 treatment Unit while the remaining 116 are being
managed from their respective homes under the COVID-19 home-based care
Last week, the Uganda Peoples Defense
forces-UPDF, police and other sister security agencies deployed heavily
at most of the landing sites on the lake Albert shores bordering DRC in
the Bunyoro sub-region. The major deployment is at Sebigoro, Kaiso,
Ndaiga, Butiaba, Bugoma, Kitebere, and Wanseko landing sites in Hoima,
Kikuube and Buliisa districts respectively.
The landing sites are the major
entry points for Congolese nationals into the country. The deployment is aimed
at stopping the illegal entry by Congolese nationals into the country amidst
the surge of COVID-19 infections.
In March 2020, the District Security
Committees in Hoima, Kagadi, Buliisa and Kikuube suspended fishing
on Lake Albert to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The decision was
reached after the COVID-19 Taskforce committees realized that Ugandan
fishermen were crossing to DRC where
they would mix freely with their counterparts while on the Lake.
The COVID-19 Taskforce committees also
suspended boat transport on the lake for a period of 32 days.
Kikuube, Nebbi, Ntoroko and Kagadi districts share porous borders with DRC.