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February 17, 2019

Matiang’i promises more cops to protect Lake Victoria fishermen

Internal Security CS Fre Matiangi (r) with the Provincial administrators from Homa Bay.Pix Habil Onyango.
Internal Security CS Fre Matiangi (r) with the Provincial administrators from Homa Bay.Pix Habil Onyango.

The government will build police posts on Lake Victoria islands to step up security and protect fishermen from harassment, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i has said.

He said on Friday the government will invest more resources in the lake and improve patrols to ensure fishermen work without interference. Matiang’i said the ministry will start deploying more officers in three months.

Fishermen, especially from Remba and Migingo islands, have complained of arrests by Ugandan police, who accuse them of fishing in their waters.

They are fined heavily, while others are mistreated, they say.

The fishermen say their fishing gears are confiscated and they are forced to eat raw fish. The worst-hit islands include Remba, Mfang’ano, Ringiti, Takawiri and Kiwa in Homa Bay county.

“The government is aware of what has been taking place on our islands. Our fishermen have been arrested and prosecuted in border rows,” Matiang’i said in Homa Bay.

“We’ll step up our security, especially on islands bordering our neighbouring countries, to ensure the frustrations our fishermen go through come to an end.”

He said the government is not pleased with frequent aggression towards Kenyan fishermen.

“It’s not good for our people to be subjected to persistent intimidation and harassment. We’ll increase security patrols and ensure our fishermen operate in a safe environment,” Matiang’i said.

“In three months, they [Ugandan officers] will know we also have security officers. It’s not good for Kenyans to continue suffering at the hands merciless people.”

war on drugs

He was accompanied by chiefs, assistant chiefs, Woman Representative Gladys Wanga and Rangwe MP Lilian Gogo.

Matiang’i said they will consult with local leaders to establsih other areas that need additional police posts. He met with the security team, led by county commissioner Irungu Macharia.

Matiang’i instructed the administrators to crack down on drug trafficking. The Interior ministry is monitoring the increasing cases of bhang trade in the county and will launch a ruthless onslaught on it, he said.

“We can’t sit back and watch the lives of our children get destroyed. The bhang business in Homa Bay must end or those who are asleep on the job will face the consequences,” Matiang’i told the administrators.

Wanga and Gogo urged residents to remain calm as the government fix their security problems.

Macharia said the government plans to turn the AP line on Remba Island into a fully fledged police station. “The officers will be stationed at Remba but will operate and patrol all other islands,” he said.

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