Fishermen ask for protection from Ugandan officers

Tuesday November 14 2017

Migingo Island

Fishing in Migingo Island in Lake Victoria. Kenyan fishermen have complained of harassment by Ugandan security officers. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By VIVERE NANDIEMO
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Fishermen at Nyatike Sub-County beaches and the disputed Migingo Islands have accused the government of inaction after Ugandan security officers allegedly forced them to eat raw fish.

They called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to assure them that they are Kenyan citizens by coming out and dealing with the Ugandans, who have been forcibly collecting taxes from them.

“We are asking the government to come to our rescue. We are suffering in the hands of Ugandan police officers who always demand money from us.

“This has made us poorer as we fear venturing into the deep waters, where there is more fish," Mr Kelvin Odhiambo Rakula, a fisherman, said.

FINES
The most affected regions include Sori, Muhuru Bay, Tagache and Lwanda Konyango beaches, where fishermen have been forced to pay up to Sh5,000 in “fines” by Ugandan security officers.

Mr Bernard Okombo, the chairman of Tagache Beach Management Unit, said fishermen who default are forced by the officers to eat raw fish.

“I have two members who were forced to eat raw fish after failing to pay the amount and their stock and nets confiscated,” Mr Okombo said, adding that arrested Kenyans are often jailed in Uganda, where they face foreign laws.

Kachieng MCA Brian Osodo and his Muhuru Bay colleague Evron Maira asked the President to use his mandate to protect the nation and its territorial boundaries.