Six Kenyan fishermen arrested by Uganda authorities

Arrest and detain.

In Summary

Fear has gripped the fishing community in Remba Island, Suba North constituency after some six Kenyan fishermen were arrested by Ugandan authorities.

Some fishermen in Remba Island , Suba North constituency.
Some fishermen in Remba Island , Suba North constituency.
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO

Fear has gripped the fishing community in Remba Island, Suba North constituency after some six Kenyan fishermen were arrested by Ugandan authorities.

The fishermen were arrested on Saturday and are currently detained in Hama Island in Uganda. 

They were arrested over alleged trespass during their fishing expedition in Lake Victoria. 

Remba Island BMU chairman Semekiah Mamra said the Ugandan security officials also confiscated the fishing gears belonging to the Kenyan fishermen.

“They detained nets and two boats. We’re yet to know the boundary demarcations in the lake so we can avoid the frequent frustrations we get in the hands of Ugandans,” Mamra said.

Mamra said many fishermen from the Island are now scared of going in the lake for fear of being arrested.

“The Ugandans even force Kenyans fishermen to feed on raw fish. Majority is totally afraid due to the harassment,” he added.

The arrest of the six fishermen comes barely a week some three Kenyan fishermen were arrested, detained and tortured in Uganda.

 

“Kenyan fishermen can’t economically grow due to frequent arrest, fine and frustrations they face under Ugandan officials,” Mamra said.

Last week, the CAS for Foreign Affairs Ababu Namwamba said they are introducing free fishing initiative in lake.

Namwamba said the initiative is aimed to end frustrations that Kenyan fishermen undergo in the hands of Ugandan and Tanzanian authorities.

“We hope to prevent frequent arrests and any other form of harassment of Kenyans fishermen during fishing in the lake,” Namwamba said.

The CAS said they engaging Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and John Magufuli (Tanzania) in a conversation to end the restrictions.

“We’re optimistic the engagement will be supported by governments in the three countries,” he said.

Namwamba said the three heads of states in East Africa support free trade across the border.

Last week Monday, MPs Millie Odhiambo (Suba North) Gideon Ochanda (Bondo) called on interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Mariachi to expedite the process of safeguarding Kenyan fishermen in Lake Victoria.

The lawmakers said the government had agreed to supply patrol boats. 

“Our fishermen would feel secure if there is police presence on the lake,” Odhiambo said.

 

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