Uganda tightens grip on Migingo

April 12, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 12 – Uganda has beefed up security at the disputed Migingo Island in a move that includes a military chopper hovering over the island.

Migingo Beach Management chairman Juma Ombori said on Saturday that the chopper was seen hovering over the densely populated island and its mission has not yet been established.

“This latest development is sending fears to Kenyan fishermen who are usually harassed by Ugandan officials,” he said.

“2,000 tonnes of fish and seven boats were confiscated last night from the fishermen by Ugandan soldiers who have been camping on the island,” he added.

Those seized were locked up in makeshift cells on the island for questioning.

The Uganda Air Force aircraft made several rounds over the densely populated island before flying towards Bugiri district in Uganda.

Mr Ombori has condemned the latest developments, and questioned what Uganda was planning.

“The troops came with weapons, food, beds and bedding as well as other essentials.”

A high powered delegation had met on the island to decide the way forward but those talks went down the drain after they failed to agree and deteriorated into a war of words.

It was agreed that the Ugandan flag would be taken down until the issue was resolved, although the presence of Ugandan troops is still evident and so is the Ugandan flag.

It is believed the Ugandan soldiers turned on the heat when Kenyan fishermen cut off food support to them forcing them to bring it in from Bugiri.

Since 2004, roughly 25 Kenyan citizens have been arrested and their whereabouts remain unknown, with no word coming from the Ugandan side.

Tom Aosa, Chairman of the Community Based Organisations, has called on President Mwai Kibaki to take immediate and decisive action.

“The commander-in-chief must take immediate action and force those Ugandans off that island because they have refused to honour diplomacy and show some common courtesy.”



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