Uganda releases detained Kenyan police officers - Daily Nation

Uganda releases detained Kenyan police officers

Wednesday June 13 2018

fishermen

Residents and fishermen at Nambo Beach in Usenge, Siaya County, protest harassment by Ugandan authorities who arrested three police officers and four fishermen on June 11, 2018. The Ugandan authorities also seized three fishing boats belonging to Kenyan fishermen on Saturday, June 16, 2018. PHOTO | RUSHDIE OUDIA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GAITANO PESSA
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Three Kenyan security officers who were detained by Ugandan authorities have been released.

Siaya County Commissioner Jacob Narengo said six fishermen who were arrested alongside the three Administration Police officers will remain in custody "until their issues are sorted".

The police officers were arrested and disarmed by the UPDF soldiers on Monday near Mageta and Hama Islands in Lake Victoria and taken to the neighbouring country by boat.

3PM

Witnesses told Nation that the officers’ guns were taken away as were their phones before they were taken to Bugiri Mainland Prison in Uganda at about 6pm.

Siaya County Administration Police Commandant Patrick Lumumba said the 3pm incident involved up to eight soldiers on patrol.

The officers, he said, were rounded up and put together with Kenyan fishermen found catching fish in Ugandan waters.

Lumumba said the attackers, who were heavily armed, first hijacked five Kenyan boats and took away their engines.

"Our officers were overpowered by the heavily armed attackers who lay an ambush on the officers who assumed they were civilians and fishermen," said Lumumba.

It is the second such high-profile detention by Ugandan authorities guarding the lake.

In November last year, the Foreign ministry had to intervene after 17 fishermen in Homa Bay were arrested and detained in Uganda over illegal fishing.

OUTRAGE

A number of this group claimed they were also forced to pay fines before they were released.

While Kenya sends police officers to patrol the lake, Uganda has sent the Special Forces Command, a unit of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces.

In February this year, President Museveni argued he sends the military because his police officers and the marine authorities were too corrupt to protect Ugandan fish.

In Siaya, meanwhile, fishermen are up in arms and do not intend to hold more meetings.

They are instead demanding for a patrol team that equipped with sophisticated weapons to match their Ugandan counterparts.

Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda expressed his displeasure at the reluctance of the Kenyan government to swing into action.

"It is very unfortunate that Kenyan security officers are being held unlawfully in the neighbouring country yet the government has not given any statement concerning the same," said Mr Ochanda.

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