07 June 2016

Pirates kill 4 fishermen on Lake Victoria

Fishermen demonstrate at Ddimo landing site in Masaka District last year after the killing of four of their colleagues by suspected Tanzanian pirates on Lake Victoria. PHOTO BY ISSA ALIGA


Shock and grief gripped residents of Kasensero landing site in Rakai District after four fishermen were killed by pirates suspected to have come from Tanzania.

Police identified the deceased fishermen as Isaiah Mbabazi, Gerald Muyunga, Godfrey Ssemwanga, and Steven Kikambi, all residents of Kasensero landing site in Kyebe Sub-county, Rakai District. The incident occurred on Sunday.
It is alleged that the group was murdered by Tanzanian pirates in an attack during which the assailants made off with the victims’ boat engine, money and other valuables.

Two other fishermen, Vincent Kaggwa and Dennis Ssenkima, managed to escape because the boat which the pirates were using to chase the group ran out of fuel.

According to Mr Abdul Ssenkima, the chairperson of fishermen at Kasensero landing site, piracy had reduced because of their strong cooperation with the Tanzanian security authorities, and the Sunday incident was a shock.
Mr Charles Njuba Nsimbe, a district councillor representing Kyebe sub-county, asked marine police of both countries to address the upsurge in piracy, adding that they are currently living in fear.

Southern region police spokesperson Ibin Ssenkumbi said they are working closely with their counterparts in Tanzania to hunt down the pirates. By Tuesday morning, police and fishermen in Rakai were still working tirelessly to retrieve the bodies.

“A team of police divers are on the lake looking for bodies of the deceased fishermen and we have asked Tanzanian authorities to help us bring the suspects to book and we hope they will do so,” Mr Ssenkumbi said.
Mr Samson Kintu , a fisherman at Kasensero landing site, accused Uganda government security organs of not doing enough to protect its citizens ,especially fishermen.

This is the second attack on Ugandan fishermen in less than a year.
Last September, four fishermen at Ddimo landing site in Masaka District were also killed by suspected Tanzania pirates.

Recently, the 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 is why they get problems and get attacked by pirates.

Last year, residents of Nkose Island in Kalangala Islands led by the area chairperson, Mr Richard Kityo, asked government to prevent illegal immigrants from settling in the area. They claimed many of their boat engines had been stolen by suspected illegal immigrants who ambush them while fishing late in the night and sneak back into Tanzania .

Recently, government announced plans to close all the porous border points as one of the security measures in the wake of the current terror threats.
However, this has not yet been effected. According to Ministry of Internal Affairs records , there are more than 300 exit and entry border points in Uganda, most of which are illegal.

Samson Kintu, a fisherman at Kasensero landing site remarked:

“We are also important citizens like the VIPs they guard in Kampala. Why is that our border points, particularly on the waters, are left for anyone to just enter?”



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