Ugandan police shoot dead three pirates, arrest three others near Migingo Island

What you need to know:

  • The suspects, believed to be Tanzanian nationals, had their own engine-powered boat which was also confiscated by the Ugandan officers and towed to the Migingo Island police post.
  • Migingo beach management unit chairman Mr John Obunge said it was a sigh of relief when they heard of the incident.
  • The two countries had set aside Sh140 million for surveyors to complete their job in determining the exact location of the densely populated island.

Three pirates have been shot dead in Lake Victoria by Ugandan security forces.

The pirates were accosted inside the lake while robbing fishermen when they met their death near the disputed Migingo Island on Saturday night.

The suspects, believed to be Tanzanian nationals, had their own engine-powered boat which was also confiscated by the Ugandan officers and towed to the Migingo Island police post.

Three other pirates were however subdued and arrested. They have since been taken to Namayingo District in Uganda where they will be arraigned in court this week. The bodies have also been moved to a Ugandan mortuary.

A Ugandan security officer who sought anonymity said they opened fire on the suspects when they realised they (pirates) were daring them to a gun fight.

“They dropped their firearm in the water after we overpowered them. This is part of the gang that has been giving our fishermen sleepless nights,” he said.

Migingo beach management unit chairman Mr John Obunge said it was a sigh of relief when they heard of the incident.

“The Ugandans have done us proud because we need peace in the lake. Fishermen celebrated when they saw the boats of the suspects here at Migingo,” he told the Nation on phone.

TOOK OVER

Incidentally, the Ugandans took over Migingo in 2002 in a bid to eliminate pirates who were terrorising both Ugandan and Kenyan fishermen.

The Kenyans, although not happy with frequent harassment, arbitrary arrests and extortion by the Ugandan officers, they appreciate the neighbours’ efforts in combating the armed pirates who had practically taken over the Lake.

Both countries have staked claim to the fish-rich island, a row that has lasted since 2002.

The two countries had set aside Sh140 million for surveyors to complete their job in determining the exact location of the densely populated island.

Even though former President Mwai Kibaki and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga had been assuring Kenyans that the island was located within the Kenyan territorial waters, the two leaders seemed to have done little in pushing for the completion of the survey work during their tenure.

PULLED OUT

The joint survey work stalled after Ugandan surveyors pulled out of the joint team midstream to ostensibly consult their seniors in Kampala before the announcement of the final outcome.

Although reliable sources indicated that the Ugandan officials were scared of being a party to announcement that the island was in Kenya, for fear of reprisal from their Government.

As of now, Kenyan and Ugandan security forces are co-managing the island as they await the apparently elusive resolution of the row.

Currently, both the Kenyan and Ugandan security officers are putting up at makeshift iron-sheet structures that are dotting the Migingo and the nearby Ugingo islands. The houses cost between Sh200 and Sh300 per day.
Kenya posted 12 armed officers, a majority of whom are drawn from the Rural Border Patrol Unit (RBPU) wing of the provincial administration police.

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