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MPs query army conduct at fishing sites

Members of Parliament have called on Government to intervene in the activities of army officers said to be regulating fishing activities on Lake Victoria.

The army has for some time been deployed in fishing communities to stop the use of illegal fishing gear and catching of immature fish.

The concern raised by Mukono South MP Hon. Jackson Muyanja stemmed from a recent incident in Makanga-C in Buikwe district, where, according to the MP, over 100 houses and property were burnt in a military operation.

These people were not given prior notice and now majority have nowhere to go. The Ministry of Disaster Preparedness should come in to help, said Hon. Muyanja.

Government hasn't yet come up with a specific intervention system in such operations. Army officers stationed at landing sites, warm people twice or thrice and if they don't adhere, they torch their property. This is forced eviction, said Hon. Robert Migadde (Buvuma Islands).

Hon. Florence Namayanja (Bukoto East) suggested that an investigation into the motive of evicting people living at lakeshores be undertaken. She said residents ought to be cautioned on using correct fishing gear rather than evicting them.

What happens at the lake shores is that after people are evicted from villages where they have lived for a long time, the land is taken over, said Hon. Namayanja.

Nwoya District Woman MP Lilly Adong made mention of army activities in her area, which has raised concern among the locals.

The army is demarcating land in my area. We need to find out what role the army has on this matter, and if they take charge, we should be concerned, said Hon. Adong.

In her response, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, noted that some of the destroyed property includes items such as boats used by fishermen. She promised to forward the matter to the President.

The Ministry of Defense should give a report on this matter, and an update on the army's mandate in managing fish landing sites, said Kadaga.

Source: Parliament of Uganda

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