Okoth issued the order on Friday during his impromptu tour at Nalibwoyo landing site in Agwinyiri Sub County in Amolatar district.
Okoth Ochola, the Deputy Inspector General of Police has suspended all Marine police operations against illegal fishing on Lake Kyoga and Kwani in Apac and Amolatar districts respectively for alleged mistreatment of fishermen. Okoth issued the order on Friday during his impromptu tour at Nalibwoyo landing site in Agwinyiri Sub County in Amolatar district.
He ordered the police marine unit to cease all operations to pave way for proper investigations into their alleged mistreatment of the fishing communities. Okoth rushed to Amolatar in response to a petition by members of the Lango parliamentary group against the increasing torture and harassment of fishermen by police in Apach and Kwani.
He ordered the Central North Police authorities to open investigations into the allegations and ensure that implicated officials are apprehended accordingly. Okoth also advised the fisheries ministry to consider training eligible staff to manage the operations against illegal fishing alongside police personnel. Recently, fishermen operating on both lakes rose up in arms against members of the police marine unit for alleged extortion. They accused the cops of demanding for bribes even they operate with the set guidelines.
Leo Ocen, a resident of Apac told URN that the police officers always demand between shillings 200,000 and 600,000 to allow the fishmongers and traders to transport immature fish. Anthony Okello, the Kyoga MP says that the fishermen also targeted by strangers carrying appointment letters from the fisheries department who claim have been deployed to curb illegal fishing. Okello says that some of the officials collect money from the fishermen, beat them up, loot their catch and later sale it to other traders in breach of the fish act. The Fish Act stipulates that seized products shall be sold and the proceeds taken to court.