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Thirty fishermen released after jointly paying a fine of Sh180, 000

Kenyan fishermen who were arrested on Saturday by Ugandan Revenue Authority (URA) officers have been released after jointly paying a fine of Sh180, 000 to Ugandan authorities.
The 30 fishermen were arrested and detained at Hama Island for trespassing into Ugandan waters in Lake Victoria.
The fishermen drawn from various beaches in both Suba North and South constituencies were arrested by the revenue officers who also confiscated their 10 boats and other fishing gears of unknown value.
The Ugandan authorities also accused the fishermen of using illegal fishing nets and packing ice in their boats against Ugandan fishing regulations.
Confirming the incident,  County Beach Management Unit Network Chairperson Edward Oremo said that the URA officers only fined six boats Sh30,000 each while the remaining four were exempted after negotiations between BMU leaders and Ugandan authorities.
Oremo revealed that the amount was raised by the BMU leadership together with fishermen from the two constituencies, adding that the 30 fishermen were released without any extra fine after they paid Sh180, 000 for the 6 boats.
The chairman added that the URA officers were intending to take the 30 fishermen in court Monday but upon negotiation they decided to release them after paying the fine.
He said that the Ugandan authority further warned Kenyan fishermen against trespassing into their waters besides using illegal fishing gears against their regulations.
Oremo further called upon the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government Dr. Fred Matiang’i to fulfill his promise to mobilize resources to protect Kenyan fishermen in Lake Victoria against harassment from Ugandan authorities.
Dr. Matiang’i had promised in 2018 when he visited the county to post marine officials in the Lake to help in surveillance.
Homa-Bay County Commissioner Harman Shambi also concurred with the sentiments expressed by the BMU chairman that the fishermen were released together with their fishing gears confiscated by the URA.
By Rachel Achieng/Davis Langat

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