- The Ugandan forces have detained nine Kenyan fisherman on Monday from the disputed Migingo Island, a Kenyan official has confirmed. The arrest comes despite a joint statement by President Mwai Kibaki and President Yoweri Museveni signed between the two countries in March to resolve the Island row.
Kenyan police spokesman, Erick Kiraithe, said the nine fishermen who were arrested were reportedly 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 the government was unhappy with the latest development.
Local news reports said the 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 the disputed Island.
In March Kenya and Uganda security forces agreed to keep away from the island in Lake Victoria, whose disputed ownership has caused a diplomatic row between the two East African nations.
It was also agreed that Uganda should bring down her flag that has been hoisted there, but to date, the flag has not been brought down and Ugandan forces are still seen roaming on the Island, reports said.
Analysts have said the tensions over Migingo Island covered in tin shacks used mainly by fishermen have threatened relations between the key trading partners and are a reminder of many disputes over colonial-era borders across Africa.
Waters around Migingo are rich in fish, whereas other parts of Lake Victoria have been decimated by over-exploitation.
Meanwhile, President Kibaki and Museveni have reportedly held successful talks in Lusaka, Zambia and agreed that the issue of Migingo Island must not be allowed to overshadow the good relations between their two countries.
At the Lusaka meeting, both president Kibaki and Museveni ordered that the survey be expedited and undertaken within the shortest time possible. They also agreed that fishermen from the two countries are to be allowed access to adjacent waters and be guided by fishing regulations as agreed upon under the Lake Victoria Fisheries organisation.
The leaders pointed out that peace and stability were the cornerstone of attaining the wider goals envisaged under the EAC integration process.
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