FISHING EXPEDITION

40 Bondo fishermen held in Uganda over trespass

Uhanya Beach Management Unit chairperson says their colleagues were arrested and 10 boats impounded

In Summary
  • Bondo deputy county commissioner says the fishermen crossed into the Namaingo district in Uganda as they went on a fishing expedition.
  • He has called on the fishermen to observe boundaries, saying his office has dispatched two members to negotiate the release of those arrested.
Fishermen in Lake Victoria.
Fishermen in Lake Victoria.
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO

Fishermen in Bondo, Siaya county, have protested the government's handling of the arrest of 40 colleagues who are detained in Uganda for trespass.

The fishermen were arrested on Friday and local beach officials claim the government has declined to intervene.

Uhanya Beach Management Unit chairperson Peter Ogutu said their colleagues were arrested and 10 boats impounded.

The 40 Kenyans, from Mageta Island, are now detained in Uganda.

Bondo deputy county commissioner Richard Karani said the fishermen had trespassed, crossing to the Namaingo district in Uganda as they went on a fishing expedition.

“They were subsequently arrested by Ugandan police over trespass and use of illegal fishing gear,” Karani said.

He called on the fishermen to observe boundaries, saying his office has dispatched two members of the Uhanaya BMU to Kampala for negotiations and possible release.

But Ogutu said the Interior ministry should have constituted a mediation team to engage their Ugandan counterparts.

“We are dissatisfied in the manner that the Kenyan government is addressing the plight of our members. It will be difficult to secure release of our members without the government’s intervention,” he told the Star.

Residents of Uhunya beach staged a protest last Sunday to express their displeasure following the arrest of the 40 fishermen.

The arrest came soon after the officer-in-charge of the Coast in Port Victoria, Athman Juma, was transferred.

Residents have praised Juma for great service.

Coast guard officers are only stationed in Mbita (Homa Bay county) and Port Victoria (Busia county).

 

(edited by Amol Awuor)

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