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

Fishermen at Nyanguena Beach in Nyatike sub county off load fish from their boat on September 2, 2018. (Caleb Kingwara, Standard)
Ugandan maritime officers were on Monday forced to shoot several times in the air to scare away irate local fishermen at Sumba Island in Budalang’i.

The Ugandan police on a speed boat were pursuing fishermen in Lake Victoria for using illegal fishing gear in their territory.

When the fishermen in a boat reached Sumba Island, they teamed up with locals and started hurling stones at the Ugandan security officers.

The officers shot in the air to scare away the angry Kenyans.

Sumba Island

Ramadhan Abuya, one of the fishermen, said it was not the first time Ugandan police were raiding Sumba Island.

"We carried placards showing them Sumba Island was in Kenya, and that they had trespassed," said Mr Abuya.

Jenipher Awino, another resident of Sumba, said Ugandan police promised to return to raid.

“Some passengers who were with fishermen in the boat sustained injuries. They jumped off the boat as they approached the shore of the lake to avoid being arrested,” said Ms Awino.     

The residents of Sumba Island appealed to the national Government to put up a police post and have the flag raised daily to remind all that the island was in Kenya.

Celestine Nabwire said there was nothing to show that the island belonged to Kenya, hence the frequent raids by police officers from Uganda.

Unarmed fishermen

“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 Sh50,000 every Kenyan boat found fishing on Ugandan waters.

Omena Beach Chairperson Felix Musee argued the figure would be exorbitant.

“This is total violation of the East African protocol, which aims to promote trade among member States,” he said.

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Kenyan fishermenOmena BeachSumba IslandLake VictoriaNyanguena Beach