Following the deployment of the Fisheries Protection Unit-FPU, fishermen at Lake Albert have thanked the UPDF for protecting them from attacks from suspected militiamen men that come from Congo.
Over the years, the Congolese militiamen have attacked fishermen, killing them and stealing their fishing gears.
They also conduct raids on Ugandan fishermen to abduct some for ransom. However, illegal fishing had also become an issue causing the closure of landing sites around Lake Albert that supported illegal fishing.
In 2020, the Uganda peoples Defense forces-UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit took over security across Lake Albert in one of the measures to combat illegal fishing.
The UPDF was first deployed in 2017 as part of a presidential directive to combat illegal fishing practices and protect the fish resource that was under the threat of depletion. However, deployment was seen on Lake Victoria, Lake Edward, Lake George and Lake Kyoga, and not Lake Albert.
Since the UPDF took over the security at Lake Albert, cases of illegal fishing have reduced, DRC militiamen have been captured and the issue of fish depletion has been managed.
The sector commander who oversees the FPU operations at Lake Albert Major Richard Mafabi emphasized that the attacks have stopped since the operations on the lake took action.
He says that although their major role is to ensure better fishing methods on the lake, they are also tasked to ensure that the security of the fishermen on the lake is guaranteed.
This has made the fishermen happy because they feel safer as individuals and for their fishing tools as well. They also don’t have to worry about going out of business because fish will not deplete.
Gilbert Atugonza, a fisherman at Nsonga landing site in Kikuube hopes that the FPU personnel will be maintained at the lake for he feels safer with them around.
The fishermen have been urged to take caution and be vigilant and work together with security to address their issues at the lake.