Security Tightened at Katwe Landing Site After New Ebola Cases in DR Congo

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Lake Edward (Courtesy Photo/File)

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Marine security and surveillance on Lake Edward, on the border side of Kasese District have been beefed up after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) recorded new cases of Ebola in the country’s Eastern side. The first case was a 26-year-old electrician from Beni, a town that has been the epicenter of the outbreak for most of its duration.

On Saturday the country also registered another death of an 11 months old baby girl who succumbed to the disease.

The surveillance has been concentrated along Katwe landing site near lake Edward as a key entry point for fishing communities across the two countries. The fishing activities have also been reduced to only day time.

John Kananura, the Katwe Town Council mayor says they have decided to limit fishermen to only move 10km in shore of the 25km route to the frontier that separates Uganda and DR Congo.

He says this is aimed at limiting interaction between the Congolese and Ugandan fishermen.

Kananura says the local leaders have equally formed a task force that is working with the marine force to ensure that fishermen abide by the set guidelines. However, Kananura is worried that the re-occurrence of ebola will add an extra pinch into the already hurt local business.

The RDC Kasese, Lt Joe Walusimbi says they have already deployed more forces along the border points to ensure that Uganda is safe. The RDC demands local leaders to ensure that communities adhere to the set guidelines set by the president.

Pascal Ecumu, the in Charge of the Marine Police Unit on Lakes Edward and George says other operations including confiscation of illegal nets and boats are also continuing.

However, he rules out any information that Congolese are entering the country through the landing site. The team impounded 30 boats for not adhering with the Ministry of Health guidelines.

Sulait Kasunju, the landing site chairperson says even the fishermen have intensified personal awareness to ensure that they are safe from any infection. He says they have been guided to only operate on the water bodies only between 7am and 5pm.

Ali Senkya, a community volunteer in health advocacy says the district leadership have taken on his services to remind locals about the existence of ebola in the DR Congo.He says a number of people both at the landing site and in DR Congo still treat ebola as a myth.

(URN)

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