Uganda detains 24 Kenyans in fishing row

Thursday May 23 2019

Lake Victoria

Fishermen on Lake Victoria. The Luo term ‘Nam’ refers to any large standing water system, ‘Lolwe’ being only a Luo adjective that describes the fact that this water system seemed to extend much farther (in all directions) than any human eye can see simultaneously. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GEORGE ODIWUOR
By GEORGE ODIWUOR
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A total of 24 Kenyans are being detained in Uganda for allegedly violating fishing laws during an expedition on Lake Victoria on Wednesday night.

The fishermen were arrested by security personnel from Uganda who were patrolling the lake, Homa Bay County Commissioner Irungu Macharia said.

The officers from Hama Island in Uganda also confiscated fishing gears, including nets and eight boats, belonging to the fishermen.

MOTIVE

Kenyan officials said those arrested are from Suba North and Suba South in Homa Bay County.

Homa Bay Beach Management Unit Network chairperson Edward Oremo said he is yet to establish the motive of the arrests.

“The security personnel officers were patrolling the lake together with revenue officers from the neighbouring country,” Mr Oremo said.

The fishermen are reported to have carried packed ice in their boats to preserve fish. With the ice, they would have been able to stay in the lake for days fishing.

In Uganda, this is considered as overfishing.

“We are investigating the exact reason why the fishermen were arrested. We will also establish where they are being detained,” Mr Macharia said.

The county commissioner added that his office has liaised with a local administrator from Uganda to engage in talks to facilitate the release of the fishermen.

“I have engaged the resident district commissioner in Uganda to find ways of assisting the fishermen,” Mr Macharia added.