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Uganda police arrest fishermen for trespass

By | May 20th 2009

By John Oywa and Kepher Otieno

Ugandan security officials caused a stir on yet another Kenyan island when they arrested 20 fishermen for alleged trespass.

The fishermen from Ringiti Island in Suba District were held yesterday morning as they fished in Lake Victoria. Ringiti is about 5km from the Uganda border and 50km from the disputed Migingo Island.

Nyanza PC Paul Olando confirmed the arrests, but said the Kenyans were later released though the Ugandan policemen and revenue officers took the away their catches. "The fishermen were arrested for allegedly crossing into the Ugandan waters, but they have now been released," he said.

Fishermen on the island said their colleagues were detained in the waters for more than eight hours, causing tension on the island.

Alarming statement

Meanwhile, the East African Community has urged journalists from the region to refrain from making alarming statements over the Migingo Island dispute. EAC Secretary-General Juma Mwapachu warned that continued reports on the island threatened EAC unity.

"The sensitive media reports on Migingo Island will only serve to undermine the work of the Joint Technical Survey Team commissioned by the top leadership of the two countries," Mr Mwapachu said.

He appealed to journalists from the region to hold their emotions in reporting the dispute. The technical committee was appointed by the two governments to survey and mark the boundaries on Lake Victoria.

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