Two flags erected on the floating island in Luzira by some individuals who receive tourists. The land recently moved from Namuwongo and was still floating on lake Victoria. PHOTO/Eddie Ssejjoba

Two flags erected on the floating island in Luzira by some individuals who receive tourists. The land recently moved from Namuwongo and was still floating on lake Victoria. PHOTO/Eddie Ssejjoba

The island has been floating between areas of Gaba landing site, Luzira Port Bell, Miami Beach and settling in some points within the lake, depending on the direction of the wind.

It moves along with papyrus and gardens of food crops that had been planted by residents of Namuwongo and Gaba who were cultivating in the wetlands along the shores.

The island has however attracted a number of curious people who jam landing sites and pay money to be transported in canoes and boats to tour it.

The boat owners charge fees ranging from 4,000 to 8000 while canoes charge higher fees.

Some people have put up makeshift houses and hoisted the national flag and named it Jaja Magezi, which they claim also has spirits that can heal people of some ailments.

But the marine police operations boss, ASP Francis Tabu said after realizing that stepping on this mass could be dangerous, they had issued directives stopping any further tour of the place.

He said marine personnel had been stationed at different landing sites especially in Gaba to ensure no further ferrying of people to the island.

?We are taking precautions because the island is like a mat placed on top of water; the island can be seen floating but underneath there is water which is risky,? he said.

He said there was eminent danger if people who toured the island stepped on weakened points that could lead to drowning.

?We cannot wait for people to die; we have stationed marine officers around Gaba and other points to monitor the situation,? he said.

He said the island anchors itself and people have been following it wherever it moves and settles in a particular place.

Fishermen at Luzira however complained that they were getting a lot of inconveniences every time the island moved.

Joseph Luyobya said many of them had lost their fish nets whenver the island moved across their fishing grounds.

By Eddie Ssejjoba, The New Vision

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