Uganda seizes 8 Kenyan fish boats in Lake Victoria
Ugandan security personnel have detained eight fishing boats whose Kenyan owners were accused of trespassing in Lake Victoria.
11 fishing boats sailed off Remba Island in Mbita sub-county, Homa Bay county toward the boundary between Kenya and Uganda on Wednesday night November 30, 2022.
However, only three boats had returned to the island by Thursday morning
The 11 boats were carrying 33 fishermen who encountered Ugandan security personnel while fishing in the lake.
Homa Bay County Beach Management Unit chairman Edward Oremo said the 33 were confronted by Ugandan security officers from Lolwe Island in Uganda who were patrolling the lake.
The Uganda officers briefly detained the Kenyan fishermen before they were bundled onto three boats while the remaining eight boats were confiscated.
Homa Bay Beach Management Unit Chairman said the 33 Kenyan fishermen were asked to pay Ush20 million/Ksh660,000 for alleged trespassing into Ugandan waters.
“All the 33 fishermen were arrested but later released. But their fishing boats were detained,” he said.
Oremo accused the Ugandan authorities of unlawfully impounding the eight Kenyan boats.
“They [the fishermen] were using the right fishing gear. I do not see the reason the boats should be held,” he said
Security agencies from Kenya are in talks with their counterparts in Uganda to release eight fishing boats.
Kenya coast guard
The government set up a new Kenya Coast Guard Station in Mbita in December 2021 to improve security in the water following increased cases of harassment of Kenyan fishermen by Ugandan and Tanzanian authorities.
Three boats were unveiled - Mv Mageta, Mv Migingo and Mv Mkaguzi - to be used to patrol the Kenyan side of the lake.