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CDF hails Lt Col Kaija for fighting criminality on Ugandan lakes

Kaija (left) hands over as CDF Mbadi looks on

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen Wilson Mbadi has commended the military’s diligent efforts in combating criminal activities on Ugandan lakes. Speaking at the handover ceremony of Lt Col Dick Kaija, the outgoing commandant of the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) at Mbuya, Gen Mbadi praised him, for his commitment in addressing criminality and illegal fishing on the lakes.

Highlighting the routine of service change within the forces, Gen Mbadi lauded Lt Col Kaija for not only enforcing fisheries laws but also educating fishermen about fishing guidelines.”I commend you for not only enforcing the fisheries law but have educated the fishermen about the guidelines on fishing, transportation, and licensing of fish and its products,” Gen Mbadi said.

Lt Col Kaija acknowledged the support of subordinates and officers and called for continued loyalty and support for the incoming commander, Lt Col Mercy Tukahirwa. Gen Mbadi emphasized the FPU’s significant efforts in curbing illegal fishing practices, allowing fish populations to recover, thus contributing to increased government revenue. Despite these successes, concerns have arisen over the military’s handling of fishermen, with reports of fatalities and instances of excessive force.

Numerous reports have been tabled before parliament and civil societies indicating the highhandedness of the military. More than 10 people drowned in the lake in the past while trying to evade the brutal hand of the military. Some like Fredrick Omondi, who was in S.2 looking for school fees were beaten to death.

Acknowledging the criticism, Gen Mbadi urged the new commander to lead the FPU in protecting the lakes while seeking guidance and maintaining a listening approach. “I urge you to accord the same support and loyalty to the new commander,” Lt Col Kaija said.

Lt Col Tukahirwa expressed gratitude for the entrusted leadership role and called for the cooperation of officers and men within the Fisheries Protection Unit. The handover ceremony was attended by high-ranking officials such as the Commander of the Special Forces Command, Brig Gen David Mugisha, and Commander Marines Brig Gen Michael Nyarwa.

The UPDF marine force has been pivotal in combating cross-border illegal fishing, particularly on Lake Albert, Lake George, and Lake Edward.



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