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Ugandan forces detain Kenyans

MIGINGO, Kenya, Apr 7 – Nine Kenyan fishermen were arrested and detained on Monday by Ugandan forces on Migingo Island.

The fishermen were arrested by Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) for ‘fishing in their waters’.

"Nine fishermen from our side were arrested and are being detained by Ugandan forces. We are trying our best to secure their release," Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe said.

"We understand they were arrested because they were fishing in Ugandan waters. We have no more details on the issue but senior officers from the Provincial headquarters in Kisumu are following it up," he said.

Mr Kiraithe did not reveal the action the Kenyan police intended to take, but revealed that Vigilance House was unhappy with the latest development.

Monday’s arrest of the Kenyan fishermen is likely to deepen the crisis over the controversial Island even further, considering that Uganda has declined to withdraw its forces from there despite an agreement between the two countries.

Senior officials from the Kenyan government led by Internal Security Minister Prof George Saitoti and his Foreign Affairs counterpart Moses Wetangula toured the island last month and held discussions with Ugandan authorities.

After the meeting held at the controversial Island, the two sides agreed to formulate teams which will study the boundary and advice the two governments accordingly.

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It was also agreed that Uganda withdraws its forces and bring down her flag that has been hoisted there.

The flag has not been brought down to date and Ugandan forces are still there.

No Kenyan forces are deployed on the Island which has remained the subject of controversy for close to two months now.

Kenya insists the Island is on her side, a claim disputed by Uganda which has accused Kenya of encroaching on their land.

Police Commissioner Maj General Hussein Ali last week went to Uganda to hold a meeting with his counterpart, but little is known of the meeting’s outcome.

"The commissioner was in Uganda where he met several officials.  Details of their meeting will be communicated later. For now, I can only confirm that indeed, he went to Uganda for the meeting," Spokesman Mr Kiraithe said.


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