“They (the soldiers) ambushed us when we were casting our fishing nets..."
He added that he thought his brave move would distract the officers but it did not
A Kenyan fisherman has narrated how he jumped into Lake Victoria and swam for almost 5 kilometres to escape arrest by Ugandan authorities.
Ben Wandera said that armed Ugandan marine officers had impounded his boat near Majanji beach at around 1 am on Tuesday and some of his colleagues were roughed up during the incident.
“They (the soldiers) ambushed us when we were casting our fishing nets and started hitting us with clubs. They were about 10 officers in an ordinary boat armed with guns and machetes.
“My colleagues who were at the front of the boat were hard hit but as some of the officers approached me, I grabbed a lifesaver jacket from our boat and dived into the lake,” he was quoted by a local daily.
He added that he thought his brave move would distract the officers but it did not.
“I dived into the lake to divert their attention with the hope that they would leave my friends but I could still hear their cries as I swam away.
“They did not even bother to follow me,” he added.
Fishing has been a source of constant conflict between Ugandan authorities and Kenyan fishermen and in September 2018, Ugandan security forces rejected an attempt by Kenyan authorities to raise a flag on the disputed Migingo Island.
They pulled down a Kenyan flag that had been hoisted on the Island despite an initial agreement for joint policing.
Kenyan fishermen often complain of mistreatment by Ugandan police and called on the President to intervene before they are chased away from the island.
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