Bunyoro fishermen protest closure of Lake Albert landing sites

A man takes his catch ashore on Lake Albert in Hoima District.

Some fishermen in Bunyoro Sub-region are protesting government’s decision to close some landing sites at Lake Albert.

Last week, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) Chief of Staff Land Forces, Maj Gen Leopold Kyanda, held a meeting with leaders from Bunyoro sub-region in Hoima Town in which it was resolved that all illegal landing sites along the Lake Albert shoreline in the four districts including Buliisa, Hoima, Kikuube and Kagadi be closed.

This was on grounds that the authorities prevent Congolese nationals from freely crossing to and from Uganda lest they become a menace to the country especially at this time when coronavirus has hit hard the world.

Sixty-one landing sites are to be closed in the first phase, according to Maj Gen Kyanda.

This resolve did not go well with some fishermen saying it will have adverse socio-economic effects on the fishing community.

Mr John Bamuturaki, a fisherman at Kabolwa landing site in Buliisa district told this website that closing the landing sites will strain the fishermen’s income.

He said that some fishermen had constructed permanent buildings at the affected landing sites, thus, they will not have anywhere to go.

Mr John Bamuturaki on closure of landing sites (Audio in English)

Mr Gilbert Owinja, a fisherman at Bugoma landing site in Kikuube district refutes allegations advanced by security forces that the landing sites are a destination for Congolese nationals.

He instead accuses security operatives of allegedly soliciting bribes from Congolese nationals to allow them settle in Uganda.

The fisherman fears that closing the landing sites might breed a wave of criminality among the youth at the lake shoreline since they are being deprived of their income generating work.

Mr Gilbert Owinja on closure of landing sites (Audio in Runyoro/Rutooro)
A fisherman cleans his catch at the shore of Lake Albert in Hoima District.

In Buliisa district, the landing sites to be closed are Kololo, Tugombili, Kawaibanda, Katonge, Cula, Masaka, Bubwe, Kigangaizi and Wakendi among others.

Some of the illegal landing sites in Hoima include Kacuru, Kitege, Peti, Kabanda, Nana, Buhuma and Kiryateete.

In Kikuube such landing sites as Kacunde, Ususa, Kiina, Wamicuk, Bulinga, Busigi and Nsunsu among others will be closed.

There are more than 400 landing sites along Lake Albert in Bunyoro up to Ntoroko district.

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