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Kenyan fishermen urge quick intervention
to end border problems with Ugandans

SIAYA (Xinhua) -- Kenyan Juma Okoth has in the last two weeks struggled to put food on the table thanks to seizure of his fishing gear by Ugandan soldiers over boundary disputes.

The middle-aged fisherman who is based in the expansive Nambo beach in Western Kenyan county of Siaya was in pensive mood on Thursday after Ugandan soldiers carted away his tools of trade hence worsening his penury.

"It has become a nightmare to put food on the table since fishing was disrupted by the seizure of my equipment by Ugandan soldiers," the father of five told Xinhua on Thursday.

He decried suffering that affected his emotional well-being since the Ugandan soldiers forcibly took away his fishing gear and those of his peers.

"Fishing is the only source of income and taking away our equipment has denied our source of livelihood." Okoth remarked.

Nevertheless, it was a sigh of relief for Okoth and his colleagues following a successful meeting between officials from Kenya and Uganda to sort out the border dispute in Lake Victoria.

Ugandan security agents on June 27 agreed to unconditionally release boats and fishing gear belonging to Kenyan fishermen.

During a meeting held in the border town of Busia attended by officials from the two countries, it was resolved that fishermen from the two countries register their boats for easy identification.

The security officials agreed to conduct a joint patrol in Lake Victoria to ensure the fishermen respect international boundaries.

"We have agreed on the need to conduct joint security patrols to ensure those carrying out the fishing activities respect international boundaries and fishermen from the two countries have to register their boats for easy identification," said Jacob Narengo, the Busia County Commissioner.

The meeting took place in the wake of tension at the border over the harassment and arrest of Kenyan fishermen and police officers by Ugandan soldiers for trespassing on the country’s waters.

Tensions had built up along the border after 12 Kenyan fishermen were arrested by Ugandan soldiers seen in retaliation after Nairobi secured the release of three police officers who had been seized by Ugandan soldiers last week.

There is fear of fresh wave of arrest as Kenyan leaders accused the state of ignoring their demand to address the ownership dispute of Migingo Island in Lake Victoria.

Okoth who welcomed the release of the boats and fishing gear appealed to Ugandan and Kenyan top leadership to end the border dispute that has affected his income.

"The frequent intrusion and arrests is affecting our main source of income.

"We want the two states to resolve the border dispute and urge Ugandan soldiers to refrain from interfering with our main source of income," said Okoth.


Kenya officials in negotiations with Uganda over jailed fishermen



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