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Fishermen living in fear after rise in pirates attacks

Fishermen fishing at Port Victoria in Busia County More than 80% of the residents depend on fishing as their major source of income. [Mumo Munuve, Standard]

Fishermen from Lake Victoria want security beefed up after cases of pirates attacking them are on the rise.

The fishermen, from Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori counties claim that the pirates steal their engines, and fishing gear, leaving them counting losses.  

Last Tuesday,  three fishermen from Bondo, were attacked and their boat engine was stolen. 

The incident came barely 24 hours after another boat was attacked by pirates at Nambo beach and fishing gears were stolen.

The attack also left the fishermen nursing injuries and were rushed to Got-Agulu sub-county hospital.

Nambo Beach Management Unit  Chairman,  Johannes Munyolo said that the five pirates, who were armed attacked the fishermen before robbing them of their fishing gears and boat engine valued at over Sh 200,000.

“The fishermen were left floating on the water. Luckily, they were rescued by their colleagues from the nearby Usenge beach,” he said.

 About a year ago, six fishermen from Mageta Island were attacked by suspected pirates near Sifu Island.  

Chairman of  Kuoyo Beach Management Unit (BMU) Willis Opiyo, said the attackers were armed with machetes and knives.

He stated that during the attack, the thugs took away the fishermen’s two boat engines worth Sh460, 000.

Opiyo regretted that similar attacks have been rampant on the lake.

Two months ago, some 15 fishermen were also attacked and their four engines were stolen.

Following Tuesday’s incident, the fishermen pleaded with the government to consider reinstating the police officers, who used to patrol the lake to contain the situation.

“Insecurity has been on the rise in the Lake, but no action has been taken despite our persistent plea to the government,” he lamented.

 Munyolo noted that the Kenya Coast Guard Services officers, who were deployed in the lake are few and stationed several kilometres away in Port Victoria in Busia County.

 “We are appealing to the government to bring more officers on the side of Siaya County to stop the attacks once and for all,” he said.

Senior police officials in Siaya said they have been working closely with officials from Kenya Coast Guard services to end robberies targeting fishermen in the Lake.

Kenya Coast Guard Services’ Squadron Commander for Kisumu Captain Jotham Odera said they are working to ensure there is safety in the Lake.