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Rampant drowning, crime pushes police to establish eetachment on lake Bunyonyi

Makerere University donated over 90 life buoy rings to Maritime police after their study found them incapacitated to rescue drowning victims

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |   Uganda Police is set to establish a detachment on Lake Bunyonyi in South Western Uganda owning to the reported increase in crime rates and drowning there. 

The move follows the wide spread outcry that the high crime rates and drowning are threatening tourism around Africa’s second deepest lake.

James Apora, the Commandant of Maritime Police told URN on Monday that they received instructions from the Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth Ochola to prepare and purchase additional boats and conduct refresher training ahead of deployment on lake Bunyonyi in November.

At the end of August, a family of five people drowned in the lake. This was in addition to three other people who drowned in the same lake a week before. 

According to Apora, apart from the residents, several tourists have also drowned in the lake. Although he doesn’t give the exact the number of people who drown in Lake Bunyonyi each year, Aparo says at least a case is reported each month. 

47 Marine police officers are currently undergoing training at the Marine Police headquarters in Kigo in addition to a batch of 40 others who had just completed their refresher course. The officers will be deployed at 26 detachments across the country. 

There are 288 maritime police officers spread across the country. However, a survey conducted by Makerere University School of Public Health last week found the officers incapacitated to be able to efficiently man the water bodies. 

The report showed a lot drowning happens in the community and the police never get to know as the deaths go unreported. Apora admitted the challenge of the limited human resource and equipment they need to save drowning victims. 

He also said they only have 25 buoy rings, which they use to rescuing drowning victims across the entire country. Aparo says they have a plan of increasing their team by hiring more 500 marine police officers.

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