Celebrated rally driver Ponsiano Lwakataka is on the run as UPDF officers of the Fisheries Protection Force (FPU) trail him over illegal possession of immature fish.
Lwakataka missed the burial of his driver known as Aklam Musajja in Rwentuha, Bushenyi who was killed by security operatives while smuggling immature fish to DR Congo.
Aklam defied a UPDF Marine contingent and police order to stop at a check-point in Kikorongo between Bwera and Mpondwe, Kasese District. Commanded by Assistant Operations Commander Capt. Isaac Ewaga, the combined security force reacted by a shooting at his car that deflated the tires, and a single bullet in the stomach killed him.
He is survived by two sons and an expecting widow, who along with the mourners blame the soldiers for killing their relative. He was buried on Saturday.
A source has told The Ugandan that Lwakataka who is believed to be hiding in Kasese District didn’t attend Aklam’s burial fearing to be arrested by the security operatives who have intensified the manhunt.
Lwakataka’s aides intimated that the premature fish that was being smuggling into the DRC using a Toyota Noah reg. UAU 018J belonged to Aklam Musajja even though a Kasese Police statement, Lwakataka’s arrested aide Muhindo made, claimed they were working on the rally driver’s orders to smuggle the fish into DRC and not to stop for anyone.
Fishermen face army’s brutality
Insisting that government is losing a lot of income in the fisheries sector due to the continued use of illegal fishing methods, officers from the FPU demonstrated their wrath over the weekend when they burnt down several fishermen’s homes, equipment and fish on suspicion of working with Lwakataka.
A source said this was after Capt. Isaac Ewaga’s officers found names and addresses of fishermen on boxes of premature fish in Lwakataka’s car, who are thought to have sold the fish to him. Most of the fishermen’s names were from Kaggonya in Bufumira Sub-county, Kalangala District, which the army claims were the headquarters of illegal fishing on Lake Victoria.
The operation to destroy equipment of Lwakataka’s collaborators was commanded by Maj. James Nuwagaba and quizzed but could not prevail upon the island’s LC leaders to give up the culprits whose fish was impounded in Lwakataka’s car.
Labeling boxes of fish with the fishermen’s names and their locations is a normal and widely used practice in Kalangala which enables them to be paid by the dealers/smugglers once the fish is sold in DR Congo.
Maj. James Nuwagaba gave the leaders a few hours’ ultimatum and when they didn’t oblige, his officers torched the huts and makeshift houses on the landing site, boats, nets and even the fish, turning everything into ashes. This forced the fishermen to run for their dear lives, some even taking refuge in the lake waters.
For burning down the Kaggonya landing site, Kalangala District LC V chairman Amos Lugolobi castigated the Fisheries Protection Force for destroying innocent people’s properties including hundreds of combinations of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs that have been helping the fishermen to manage the HIV virus and stop its progression on the islands.
The army also torched more ‘illegal’ landing sites like Mumpe, Mutemante, Lambu, Kacanga, Gwamba, Kaziru, Namirembe, Ddimo and Kasenselo.