A 31-year-old fisherman drowned after rival groups of fishermen clashed over territorial rights during a fishing expedition in Lake Victoria.
Witnesses told Kenya News Agency that the body of the late Michael Juma was yet to be recovered from the deep waters after their boat capsized during the confrontation with a rival crew of fishermen.
Preliminary reports indicated that the deceased was in the company of four other colleagues who were ironically rescued to safety by the rival fishermen with whom they locked horns over boundary disputes.
The five, who were from Lela beach, in Homa Bay Sub-County were on a fishing expedition when they were confronted by their counterparts from Ndhuru beach in Suba North Sub-County.
It is reported that the fishermen from Ndhuru beach were on patrol when they noticed the alleged initiated trespass in their fishing zone before giving a canoe chase in the turbulent waters causing the ill-fated boat to capsize.
Speaking to KNA, Lela Beach Management Unit (BMU) chairman Alfred Anyango confirmed that a group of fishermen from Ndhuru beach who were on patrol attacked and engaged them in a physical war before their boat capsized in the Lake.
“We got attacked by our fellows from Ndhuru beach who were on patrol, something that made our boat to capsize as we tried to escape,” said Anyango.
Anyango said that the attackers accused them of trespassing the boundary allegedly demarcated in the Lake near Ndhuru beach where they had cast their nets.
He stated that the four fishermen were later rescued by the same attackers after realizing that their efforts to swim to safety would be thwarted, but unfortunately, Juma drowned and failed to resurface.
“The four who survived were actually rescued by the same people who attacked us after realising that swimming was becoming hectic,” said the chairman.
He added that the alleged demarcated boundaries between the beaches in the Lake is one of the main causes of conflicts among the fishermen during their daily fishing activities.
The search mission to retrieve the deceased body is ongoing with the BMU appealing to various government agencies to intervene and help them retrieve the body.
By Brian Odhiambo and Sitna Omar