The Aviation Security at Entebbe International Airport, has charged two passengers for their disruptive behaviour of vending grasshoppers to other passengers aboard the Uganda Airlines flight No UR446, from Entebbe to Dubai.
The suspects are Mubiru Paul, a 27-year-old, businessman, dealing in phone accessories and resident of Nsambya Kevina, and Kiggundu Hajib, a 25-year-old, businessman, also dealing in phone accessories, and resident of Masanafu, Rubaga division.
According to a statement issued by police on Monday, Mubiru Paul and Kiggundu Hajjib are in police custody and have been charged with multiple counts relating to last week’s incident when a passenger started vending grasshoppers aboad Uganda Airlines causing excitement as passengers scrambled to buy the insects.
The statement indicates that Mubiru Paul was permitted to carry grasshoppers in his hand luggage but started vending the insects contrary to inflight rules. Grasshoppers are a delicacy in Uganda.
“Surprisingly, instead of properly storing his luggage in the overhead bin or under the seat infront of him, Mubiru Paul, opened his hand luggage and started vending the fried grasshoppers, which attracted scenes of excitement and also disrupted other passengers. The illegal vending exercise was recorded by his associate, Kiggundu Hajib, and shared on various social media platforms.” Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga said in a statement.
Refferring to the National Civil Association Security program, Appendix 5 and the Airport Security Program, Appendix 10, police says grasshoppers are not a prohibited item on the aircraft but vending them on the aircraft as the suspect did is prohibited.
“In this respect, the suspects went against the standard inflight instructions and started vending fried grasshoppers. They also defied one of the cabin crew members approached and asked them to stop the illegal act and take their seats.” Enanga adds.
According to the statement, the only sales allowed are in-flight convenient or food items that are cleared and strictly sold by the cabin crew members.
In addition, despite the pre-flight Covid tests and mandatory use of face masks, the passengers posed another safety risk, when they removed their masks and were shouting at the top of their voices.
Following the incident, Uganda Airlines regretted the incident saying it had an effect on the image of the national carrier. In response, Mubiru wrote an apology to the Airline managers and Ugandans, stating that he didnt intend to tarnish the image of the airline but wanted to record a video for his socialmedia platforms.
According to police, the duo have been charged with various offences which include; being a common nuisance C/S 160 of the Penal Code Act, refusal to follow a lawful instruction, given by the aircraft crew member, contrary to Regulation 51(b), of the Civil Aviation Security Regulation 2012, and for negligent acts likely to cause the spread of an infectious disease.