Fishermen want L.Victoria security beefed up

Fishermen at Ddimo landing site in Masaka demonstrate over the death of Ugandan fishermen reportedly killed by Tanzanian pirates on Lake Victoria. PHOTO BY ISSA ALIGA

MASAKA- Following the controversial death of four fishermen at Ddimo landing site last month, residents of Namirembe and Kasensero landing sites near the Uganda–Tanzanian border are living in fear. They have asked government to tighten security around Lake Victoria.

The fishermen are said to have been killed by suspected Tanzanian pirates. They were identified as Joseph Kasiita, John Lwebuga, Steven Ssali and Paul Mulindwa.

The angry fishermen, who staged a demonstration at Ddimo landing site on Monday, condemned government security organs for failing to protect them as they work, which exposes them to Tanzanian pirates.

“It is useless to tighten security at major facilities in the country, including Parliament, courts and shopping malls when border points, including those that are illegal, are left unchecked,” said Mr John Muwonge, a fisherman at Ddimo who led the demonstration.

“Tanzanian pirates just enter our waters without any clearance, but we can’t cross to their side, why?” he asked.

He said some of the entry border points the pirates use to enter the country are ungazetted, pausing a security risk.
Mr Teesi Lwasa, another fisherman at Namirembe landing site, appealed to government to post enough marine police personnel to patrol the lake and arrest pirates and other criminals terrorising the area.

“We lack security on the lake and it appears like no one is in charge, ’’ he said.

He added that security on the lake will help to promote the much touted East African Community integration.

The Southern Regional Police Commander, Mr Maxwell Ogwal, said although his officers are thin on the ground, they are doing everything possible to secure all landing sites bordering Tanzania as well as fighting criminals, who usually engage in cross border robbery.

He said police were investigating the killings, but he warned Ugandan fishermen against entering the waters while drunk.

“We have realised that most fishermen enter the lake when they are drunk and when they get misunderstandings with other people, they think about fighting, which has caused them problems,” he said.
Masaka deputy Resident District Commissioner, Mr Joseph Ssekasamba, said some Ugandan fishermen do not know the boundaries on Lake Victoria shared by the three countries and that’s why they get problems and get attacked by pirates.