36 Kenyan fishermen arrested in Lake Victoria by Ugandan authorities over the weekend have been released.
The fishermen from Nambo beach in Bondo sub-county were intercepted by the Ugandan Revenue Authority (URA) on Saturday night for allegedly trespassing and using illegal fishing gear.
The Kenyans were fishing near Sigulu Island in Uganda when the Ugandans ordered them to stop at gun point.
They were bundled into the officers’ patrol boat and taken to Hama Island where they were locked up.
Their nine boats, engines and fishing nets were also confiscated by the officers. However, their fish valued at Sh50, 000 was also taken and sold by the officers.
“The Ugandan officers demanded Sh10, 000 from each boat and Sh7, 000 from each fishing net. We managed to pay for the release of the boats and some nets,” said Ochieng.
Speaking to The Standard, a number of the fishermen said they have been intimidated and harassed by Ugandan police whenever they are found in the ‘Ugandan waters’.
“We thought having a cross-border peace meeting would bring a sigh of relief to Kenyan fishermen but it has become a nightmare. Ugandan authorities have ignored such agreements and the EAC treaty signed by the five member States,” Daniel Odero, a fisherman in Bondo, said.