Lt. Col. Mercy Tukahirwa directed an operation resulting in the impoundment of a truck carrying approximately 10 tonnes of immature fish on her inaugural day as commandant of the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU). The FUSO truck with registration UBH 141B was intercepted at the Mpondwe border, attempting to cross into the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Confirming the operation, Lt. Col. Tukahirwa disclosed that four individuals, Umar Busulwa, Karim Abdul, Kasereka Bahamwiti, and Joram Bwambale, have been arrested in connection with the illegal fishing and trade. They are currently held at the Mpondwe Border Police Station, awaiting further legal proceedings.
The immature fish, believed to be smoked and salted, was sourced from the Mpigi and Kalangala districts, according to the FPU boss. The swift action on her first day reflects the commitment to combating illegal fishing practices on Uganda’s water bodies.
Lt. Col. Tukahirwa took over the position from Lt. Col. Dick Kaija, who had been in command of the FPU since December 2020. The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Wilson Mbadi, commended Lt. Col. Kaija for his efforts in tackling criminality and curbing illegal fishing practices. The change in command aligns with military routine, with the new commandant expected to continue ongoing efforts, including returning impounded illegal fishing gear and subjecting confiscated equipment to legal processes.