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Ugandan military officers open fire in Kenya in pursuit of fish

By Ignatius Odanga | Published Sun, September 23rd 2018 at 13:15, Updated September 23rd 2018 at 14:20 GMT +3
The vehicle that was shot at by Ugandan Military Officers parked at the Busia Police Station. [Photo: Ignatius Odanga/Standard]

County Commissioner of Busia Jacob Narengo is currently holed up in a meeting with Resident District Commissioner of Busia Uganda Hussein Matanda.

The meeting is being held following the arrest of two Ugandan military officers who trespassed into Kenya and started firing at the vehicle that was carrying fish from Uganda on Sunday morning.

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Others attending the meeting are County CID Commander Esther Seroney and Police Commander Wambua Katithi.

The two officers who are being held at Busia Police Station have recorded statement so is the driver who escaped narrowly.

The incident happens one week after two Kenyan MPs Raphael Wanjala of Budalang'i and Gideon Ochanda met their Uganda counterparts in Sigulu Island last Sunday to discuss how harassment of fishermen can end. Uganda's National Assembly Rebecca Kadaga also attended the meeting.

Ms Kadaga promised to table a motion last Tuesday for Ugandans MPs to formulate laws that will protect fishermen from Kenya and Uganda against frequent harassment from Uganda's Maritime Officers. The motion was postponed and is scheduled to be deliberated next Tuesday.

It is illegal for a police officer or a politician from either county to cross to Uganda or Kenya armed with firearms.

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Simmering tension

In June, tension gripped the border after Kenyan and Ugandan authorities clashed in separate crackdowns on fishermen and traders along Lake Victoria.

The standoff started when three Administration Policemen were arrested by Ugandan authorities, detained for a day then later released.

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Fishermen in Siaya, Homa-Bay and Migori counties were targeted by Ugandan authorities in the weekend crackdown.

The Ugandan security personnel arrested 20 Kenyan fishermen and detained two boats. But Kenyan authorities also conducted a swoop on illegal migrants from Uganda.

According to a police report, the two boats were confiscated at around 4pm before they were rescued by Kenyan APs.

"We were informed that Ugandans also confiscated 400Kg of fish," said Mr Francis Gomre, the officer in charge of Rural Border Patrol Unit.

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