Naivasha riots after illegal fisherman dies in Coast Guard clash

Man fatally shot in altercation at Karagita landing beach

In Summary

• Trouble started when Coast Guard engaged illegal fishermen and youth was shot fatally in the chest. Youths riot. 

•The Coast Guard arrived in the lake area to control illegal fishing. Cases have dropped sharply. 


Residents view shell of a bus burnt by protesters along Moi South Lake road near Karagita trading centre on September 22.
PROTEST: Residents view shell of a bus burnt by protesters along Moi South Lake road near Karagita trading centre on September 22.

Transport along the busy Moi South Lake Road in Naivasha was disrupted for hours on Wednesday morning after Kenya Coast Guard officers fatally shot an illegal fisherman.

Armed youths and others from nearby Karagita estate barricaded the road and burnt a bus ferrying flower farmworkers to greenhouses.

Many workers heading to Kengen, Hells Gate and flower farms were stranded as riot police moved in to contain the violence.

Trouble started after the Coast Guard, which has been patrolling the lake for two months, engaged illegal fishermen.

In the altercation, 24-year-old Samuel Mwangi was shot in the chest. Activities at the busy land beach were paralysed.

Naivasha subcounty commissioner Mutua Kisilu confirmed the incident, saying DCI officers had taken over. Details of what transpired were scant, he said.

“Information coming from the Coast Guard is that the youths attacked them and tried to burn their boat, and in the process one of them was shot dead,” he said.

Kisilu said Coast Guard officers involved in the violence would record statements.

“We have been forced to get more anti-riot officers to deal with the youths who burnt a bus and have now moved from the main road into the estate,” he said.

MCA Virginia Wamaitha condemned the killing, saying the officer responsible should be held accountable.

The Hells Gate MCA admitted that due to flower farm and other job losses, many youths have invaded the lake as illegal foot fishermen, casting nets from the shore.

The Coast Guard's mandate is to end illegal fishing, seize illegal equipment like small-mesh nets, stop unsafe vessels and apprehend smugglers.

“We are keen to have sustainable fishing in the lake by addressing illegal fishing but we should not use excessive force against suspects," she said.

The death comes barely a week after another youth fishing illegally drowned in Kasarani area as he fled the Coast Guard.

David Kilo from the Lake Naivasha Boat Owners Association said the body was found two days after he fled.

“The deceased was in a group of other foot fishermen when they ran away after spotting the Coast Guard," he said. The body was recovered on Monday.

(Edited by V. Graham)

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