Two fishermen hailing from Kamuwunga landing site in Lukaya town council have drowned in Lake Victoria today while fleeing from an army-led operation against illegal fishing.
Ziad Nsereko and William Zziwa dived into the water in an attempt to evade UPDF soldiers, drowning in the process. Their bodies have been retrieved from the lake and taken for a postmortem.
Vincent Ssensalo, one of the fishermen who retrieved the bodies, attributes the incident to the government’s failure to reopen the landing sites in time as it had been promised. He adds that the fishermen have been financially pressed especially during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Vincent Mayambala, another fisherman, says that they have been left with no incomes to look after their families. He appealed to government to reopen the landing sites to avoid such incidents from occurring.
Vianne Birungi, the officer in charge of Lukaya police station, regretted the incident saying it was unfortunate. He appealed to the fishermen to be patient until the government resolves the matter to reopen the landing sites.
The government in October 2020 set conditions for the reopening of landing sites countrywide. According to Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, the minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, the landing sites were set to reopen after complete registration of all fishermen and the recommended fishing boats and the process is still ongoing.