ENTEBBE – The UPDF Special Forces Commander Maj. Gen. James Birungi has on Wednesday, August 21, appealed to Government to start paying divers allowances for the occupational hazards they that they encounter in pursuit of their under-water activities.
Maj Birungi made these remarks during his speech at the Marine Training School in Kalangala, Kasanje in Entebbe Municipality at a ceremony where he awarded 65 divers with certificates upon completion of a 5-months course as senior divers.
“Since they risk their lives in water, they need to be given extra money that will help them besides the salary,” said Maj Birungi.
The divers acquired various skills that include: gun use and rescuing people in water among others.
“Divers face very tough situations especially when they are under water rescuing people since water has got several dangerous animals and heavy winds that can cause diseases and endanger their lives,” says Maj Birungi.
He also advised them to apply the various skills that they have acquired while doing their work and maintain discipline and uphold high levels of integrity in the course of their duties.
The Marine Training School boss, Lt. Col. Alison Kugumisiriza said that all divers who are going to be added on the UPDF marine team to assist in combating poor fishing methods should exercise discipline and also treat fishermen in a fair manner.
“UPDF wants it’s respect to remain high since many people admire it so since you have been added to this force, you need to maintain discipline to it’s maximum in order to cope with them,” said Col Alison.
He encouraged them to maintain high levels of physical fitness and protect themselves from infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS in order to live long and healthy lives.
There was one female diver among the graduates.
However, those that didn’t pass the aquatic tests were denied certificates by the military institution and were instead advised to repeat the course.
Brig. Gen. Michael Nyarwa who heads all Divers’ schools in Uganda applauded the soldiers for finalizing their training and urged them to serve the country with love and confidence without turnishing UPDF’s good image.