Ugandan police shoot in air to scare away Budalang’i locals

Fishermen along the shows of Lake Victoria near Port Victoria town in Budalangi Sub County and Busia County. Some of them have been harassed by Ugandan officers while on fishing activities. [PHOTO: NANJINIA WAMUSWA/STANDARD]

Ugandan Maritime Officers were forced to shoot in the air several times to scare away irate local fishermen at Sumba Island in Budalang’i .

The Ugandan police with Speed Boat were pursuing fishermen in Lake Victoria for fishing in foreign waters with illegal fishing gears.

When the fishermen who had the boat reached Sumba Island they teamed up with residents and started hurling stones at the Ugandan security officers.

This forced the police to shoot in the air to scare away the angry Kenyans. According to one of the fishermen Ramadhan Abuya said this was not the first time police in Ugandan had come to raid Sumba Island.

“We carried placards showing them Sumba Island was in Kenya and they had trespassed to another country,” he said.

Adding that,” Traders and fishermen started throwing stones forcing the Ugandan officers to shoot in the air to scare us away and they left for Uganda.”

Another resident of Sumba, Jenipher Awino, said Ugandan police promised to come back for a raid. “Some passengers who were with fishermen in the boat sustained various injuries, they jumped off the boat as they approached the shore of the lake to avoid being arrested,” said      

The residents of Sumba Island appealed to the national government to put up a police post and have the Kenyan flag raised daily as a sign that the island is in Kenya.

“We have to be respected and that can only happen if police post is set up here and Kenyan flag raised daily so that when Ugandan police officers come they get our officers in the island,” said Celestine Nabwire.

She said there nothing to show that the island belonged to Kenya something they police from neighbouring country were taking advantage of.

“The way they carry out their duties is dangerous, they confront and brutalise unarmed fishermen,” she added.

Last month, Kenyan fishermen opposed the decision to fine Sh50, 000every Kenyan boat found fishing on Ugandan waters.

Chairperson of Omena Beach Felix Musee argued that fee was exorbitant. “This is total violation of the East African protocol which aims to promote trade among member state,” he said. The fee was aimed at keeping Kenyan fishermen away from Ugandan waters.

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Ugandan Maritime OfficersSumba IslandBudalang’iLake VictoriaFishermanFishermenPolice