Fishermen decry harassment by Ugandan security officers

Some fishermen in Lake Victoria have alleged that they were facing persistent harassment by Ugandan security officers in some of the islands in the Lake.

The fishermen in Ringiti, Remba, Kiwa, Migingo, Mfangano and Takawiri Islands say they were being harassed and faced frequent arrests by the soldiers in a bid to prevent them from fishing.

Led by Sienga Beach Management Unit Chairperson, Michael Ochieng, the fishermen said the Kenyan security officials have not been helpful in protecting them from intimidation by Ugandan security officials.

They said the Ugandans were also dictating terms of selling fish caught in the lake.

“We appeal to our security personnel to come to our rescue. We are suffering in the hands of Ugandan security officials,” said Ochieng’.

Ochieng’ said Ugandan security personnel usually arrest and detain them until they part with hefty fines.

“We are forced to pay fines of between Sh.10, 000 and Sh.20, 000 when arrested by Ugandan security officials.” said Ochieng’.

Homa Bay County Beach Management Network Chairman, Edward Oremo appealed to the Government to fast track the East African countries licensing programme, which he said will allow fishermen from the three countries of East Africa to freely fish in the lake.

Oremo said an estimated 3000 Kenyan fishermen are frequently arrested in Ugandan side of the lake which is only three kilometers away from Remba Island.

The fishermen have also cited lack of fishing industries along the lake as an impediment to growth of fishing industry in the country.

Source: Kenya News Agency