Tired of frequent harassment by Ugandan Maritime Officers and bribing Kenyan police officers daily, local fishermen in Budalang’i are now saying enough is enough.
They vowed not to lie low for both Kenyan and Ugandan Maritime Officers to undermine them. The Kenyan officers have already tested the wrath of angry fishermen.
On Monday angry fishermen in Marenga Beach locked up an officer in their office briefly who they claim he wanted to be bribed before impounded boats could be released.
The officer was forced to call for reinforcement from Port Victoria Police Station to save him from jaws of irate fishermen. According to one of the members of Marenga Beach Management Unit Patrick Okumu, the boat had just docked the beach from Uganda with food stuff.
Despite boat transporters paying tax to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) the officer decided to impound the boat without giving reasons.
The move to confiscate the vessel with food stuff from Uganda prompted exchange of word between the officer and fishermen. The fishermen then left the office and locked the officer inside.
“It is too much, we cannot withstand bribing police officers daily. In fact he was very harsh on us that we give him money otherwise the boat would not be released,” said Okumu.
“A land-cruiser came full of police with teargas canisters to save their colleagues, they broke the gate and took the officer,” he said.
Most of Budalang’I residents depend on food from Uganda. Following the incident, fishermen in Marenga beach want police post located in Mulukoba beach removed for collecting bribes and failing to defend local fishermen whenever Ugandan officers harass them.
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“They pull the boat to Mulukoba and demand for bribe and you have to bribe them otherwise you will not transport goods from Uganda to Kenya or fish in Lake Victoria,” Farouq Ochieng also a member of Marenga Beach.
“The police are not helping us instead they are terrorizing us by demanding for bribe daily. They should go,” he maintained.