A shootout between Tanzanian pirates and Uganda Police on the disputed Migingo Island left three of the six bandits dead while three others were arrested
By Simon Masaba
A shootout between Tanzanian pirates and Uganda Police on the disputed Migingo Island left three of six bandits dead over the weekend. Three others were also arrested and are still detained at Namayingo Police station, according to Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga.
For years, Migingo has been a source of controversy between Uganda and Kenya, with each state claiming ownership of the rocky island on Lake Victoria.
The shootout between operatives from the Police marine unit and the pirates happened on Saturday. According to Enanga, the marine unit was responding to a distress call from fishermen after the assailants had placed a store keeper on the island at gun point.
Enanga identified the dead as Emmanuel Karupente and the two only identified as Kasim and Ndaro whose bodies were transferred to the city mortuary at Mulago, in Kampala.
Those arrested include Maria Giliriki (30), Jack Paul Nicholas (40) and Brian Mashare (35), all residents of Musoma in northern Tanzania.
“All suspects are detained in Namayingo Police station, pending ongoing inquiries. They will most likely be charged with aggravated robbery,” Enanga said.
He said the Police had contacted their Tanzanian counterparts in connection with the incident.
Preliminary Police investigations indicate that the store keeper was alone at his work station when the gunmen raided targeting fish nets, motor boat engines, cash and fish.
The marine Police is said to have fired in the air, only to be shot at by the thugs, prompting the shootout.
"The pirates poured petrol on water and set fire on it in a plot to stop the Police from engaging them and leave room for escape but all was in vain," Enanga explained.
By press time Police divers were searching for a gun which the pirates dumped in water after they were out-numbered by the Police.
Last year, the Police announced that it was reviving its shoot-to-kill policy to curb violent crime.
As both Uganda and Kenyan governments wait for a report on who owns Migingo Island, both countries struck a deal last year that has seen fishermen operating on the island freely.
The deal reportedly allowed Ugandan security to cross over to Kenyan beaches for food and medical supplies in a move to reduce tension.
The leaders also agreed to have a joint Beach Management Unit as opposed to each country deploying its own officials.
Police shoots dead 3 Tanzanian pirates on Migingo Island