Legislators from Island districts have asked government to compensate families of fishermen who are allegedly killed by the army after being arrested for illegal fishing.
While presenting matters of National importance to the plenary on Tuesday, January 31st, the Kalangala District Woman Member of Parliament Hon. Helen Nakimuli said a number of fishermen are illegally detained and killed at different landing sites in Kalangala, and tasked government to explain the circumstances under which such people are Killed.
Hon. Nakimuli told Parliament that on 29th January 2023, a fisherman known as Masaba steven of Buyange landing site in Bubeke sub county was illegally detained and Killed by the UPDF Officers alleging he was involved in illegal fishing or use of illegal fishing gears.
“The government should explain the circumstances under which Masaaba Steven was Killed, compensate his family and other people who have died under similar circumstances, “Hon. Helen Nakimuli said.
Hon. Robert Migadde, the member of parliament from Buvuma Island County wondered why the army continues to arrest fishermen over what they terms as ‘use of illegal nets’.
“These nets are sold on the market after being cleared by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and yet they go ahead and arrest the people using them. We need an explanation.” Hon. Migadde told Parliament
Hon. Dickson Kateshumbwa, the Member of Parliament for Sheema municipality and member of the Parliamentary committee on Trade, Investment & Tax Policy Advisory, Leadership & Governance said government levies taxes on the illegal fishing nets that get into the country, but wondered why it doesn’t intervene into the matter.
The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga put the House on notice that he will move a motion for an inquest into the torture of persons at landing sites.
“The Uganda Peoples Defense Force has no authority to execute people caught in an illegality”. he said
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Thomas Tayebwa tasked the Ministry of Internal Affairs to present a report to Parliament about the matters of National importance raised by the Honorable members of parliament.
In October 2022, Local leaders and fishermen at Lambu Landing Site in Masaka District tasked the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) to investigate soldiers under the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) who reportedly caused the death of three fishermen on Lake Victoria.
The deceased fishermen were Yaweh Ssenyonga, 30, Medard Mujuni, 32, and a one Kisembo, all residents of Lambu landing site in Bukakkata Sub County, Masaka District. The trio was said to have engaged in illegal fishing near Lwabaana Island, located a few nautical miles away from Lambu landing site.
Ever since President Museveni deployed soldiers to crackdown on illegal fishing on Uganda’s lakes in 2017, they have on several occasions been criticised over their high-handedness while dealing with suspects.
During FPU operations, many people suspected of dealing in immature fish have reportedly been tortured, some killed and several ungazetted landing sites destroyed along the shores of Lake Victoria, Kyoga and Albert.
In the same vain, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hon. Thomas Tayebwa on Tuesday morning, chaired a joint security meeting in regard to the alleged abductions of some Ugandans.
The meeting was attended by the government team led by the Prime minister Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja and the Opposition side led by the Leader of Opposition Hon. Mathias Mpuuga.