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State patrol teams harassing us, say L Naivasha fishermen

By Antony Gitonga | February 21st 2017
Fishermen from Lake Naivasha demonstrate along Moi South lake road in Naivasha.,February,20th ,2017, to protest against harassment by fisheries officers. They accused the government officers of illegally confiscating their nets, fish and nets leading to huge losses. photo:Antony Gitonga

Fishermen yesterday blocked a road leading to Naivasha flower farms and Olkaria geothermal fields to protest against harassment by fisheries and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers.

The fishermen accused patrol teams from the Fisheries Department and KWS of illegally confiscating fish and fishing equipment.

They cited a Sunday night incident in which the officers arrested two fishermen licensed to fish on the lake before confiscating their boat engine and the day's catch.

According to their representative, David Kilo, the patrol team did not take the two fishermen to the police station as required by law.

Mr Kilo said this was not the first time the patrol officers were harassing innocent fishermen, who were losing thousands of shillings to fish theft.

"We want the ministers concerned to transfer all the officers attached to KWS and the Fisheries department at Karagita station because they have been oppressing us daily," he said.

Kilo, who is also the chairman of Lake Naivasha Boat Owners Association, accused the officers of forcefully taking fish from nets belonging to fishermen.

His sentiments were echoed by another resident, Jane Wangari, who claimed the patrol teams often demanded bribes before they released confiscated fish.

Addressing the protestors, Naivasha Assistant County Commissioner John Opondo promised that their complaints would be investigated and action taken against any officers found culpable.

"The complaints are genuine; the security committee will investigate the officers," he said.



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