Army apologises to Kyoga fishermen over abuse

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By Frank Lukwago, Nev Vision/NECJOGHA

NAKASONGOLA- The defence ministry has apologized to the fishing communities in Nakasongola over recent incidents, in which the UPDF fisheries reinforcement personnel are said to have inflicted torture on fishermen on Lake Kyoga.

At least one person is said to have been tortured to death and several others detained or seriously injured during recent operations by UPDF fisheries reinforcement personnel who were cracking down on illegal fishing on Lake Kyoga.

Edward Lutaaya, who was a resident of Zengebe in Lwampanga sub-county, in Nakasongola district, is said to have died in captivity at the UPDF fisheries reinforcement base at Bangala, in Amolatar district, where he was detained after being arrested in June.

Many other fishermen, mostly from Nakasongola, also claim to have been detained and injured during intensified operations by the UPDF fisheries reinforcement personnel, who were deployed to crack down on illegal fishing.

The intensified operations have also seen hundreds of illegal boats and fishing gear destroyed, in a bid to stamp out the vice.

The state minister of defence minister, Charles Okello Engola who conveyed the government’s apology on Thursday, blamed the violent acts on indiscipline on the part of individual elements within the UPDF.

Engola, who said was sent by the president, had gone on a fact-finding visit to the area, at the invitation of the Nakasongola MP, Noah Mutebi.

After apologizing to the fishing communities during a meeting that was held at Kasambya landing site, Okello said the UPDF officers who carried out the acts would be brought to book.

Nakasongola LC5 chairperson Samuel Kigula condemned the brutal manner in which the fishermen were handled.

 

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