By John Masaba
The Police have denied allegations that Ugandan security officers on Migingo Islands have introduced a new charge for Kenyan fishermen working and living on the island.
A section of the Kenyan press reported yesterday that Ugandan security officers had introduced an additional levy of Ksh300 per fisherman based at the disputed Migingo Island in Lake Victoria.
The reports indicated that a written notice had been issued instructing all fishermen to comply or move to the Kenyan side mainland beaches.
However, Police say there is no truth in allegations.
“We are fully committed to the East African Community cooperation. The officers we have deployed on the island are disciplined and are not in any way capable of extortion and intimidated as claimed,” said Patrick Onyango, Police deputy spokesperson.
Onyango however said if any of the individuals was doing anything wrong they would be punished.
Kenyan press quoting Migingo beach management unit chairman John Obunge reported that it appeared the Ugandans were setting stage to evict Kenyans from the island.
The publication also alleged that security officers Uganda are intimidating and extorting money from fishermen and traders living on the Island.
The latest move could have far reaching consequences for bilateral agreements entered between two countries regarding the management of the island, pending the resolution of the ownership dispute.
Migingo is a tiny island, about half the size of a football pitch in Lake Victoria.
Protests rotate around the profitable fishing rights, mostly for valuable Nile perch.
The island caused a lot of tension between and 2008 and 2011 and observers almost predicted war. However, tensions were calmed when both countries issued a joint statement that both countries would cease claiming ownership until the dispute is settled.
Efforts to speak to officials in foreign affairs ministries were futile by press time.