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Kenya- Uganda security teams address fishing disputes

Security teams from Kenya and Uganda have met to resolve the impasse over fishing rights in Lake Victoria after local fishermen complained of harassment and intimidation from the authorities in neighbouring country.

The two teams met in Busia County to work jointly with a view to resolving the stalemate between Ugandan security officers and Kenyan fishermen in Lake Victoria that occurred on Monday night.

Speaking to the press after a bilateral meeting at the Ugandan One Stop Border Post on Wednesday, Busia Uganda Resident District Commissioner Michael Kibwika said that the two countries have a duty to respect and promote peace and security along the borderline.

“We have resolved that at every point in life, promote peace and security,” he said, adding that anybody who engaged in the Monday scuffle will be held individually responsible.

Kibwika added that the two parties have also agreed to carry out joint investigations with a view to identifying the cause of the scuffle and the responsible culprits.

“The Ugandan authorities have already arrested the sergeant who carried out the shooting and the other who commanded the action,” he said, adding that they will be held in police custody until the investigations are completed before being taken to court.

He blamed the constant conflicts between security officers and the fishermen on illegal fishing in Lake Victoria, adding that if the issue is addressed, there will be harmony along the border.

‘We have agreed as a security committee that we shall sit at every quarter and review our performance and come up with mitigations where there are challenges.

The RDC further insisted that illegal fishing is a criminal offense that needs to be fought by both countries.

Busia Acting County Commissioner Kipchumba Ruto said that the Kenyan security team had arrested a Ugandan coxswain who is expected to be in court today and face murder charges.

Ruto stated that there was a need to end the conflicts between security officers and fishermen in Lake Victoria.

“We are out to build cohesion and integration between the two member states and the business communities,” he said.

He explained that Lake Victoria is a shared resource, and no conflict should arise over its use by the border communities.

“Kenya and Uganda are sisters, and we are not going to allow conflicts within our waters,” he said.

The CC further reiterated that those who come into conflict with the law must, however, be prosecuted.

Namaingo Resident District Commissioner Debora Mwesigura asked communities from both sides of the border to maintain calm as investigations continued.

“As the Ugandan government, we commit to making sure that this case is conclusively handled and the person who committed the offense has to pay according to the law,” she said.

The meeting was held two days after a Kenyan fisherman was shot dead and another one was injured following a confrontation with some Ugandan security officers in Lake Victoria.

By Salome Alwanda

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