Kenya and Uganda police chiefs have formed a Joint Task Force to address challenges facing residents in the disputed Migingo Island – including terror threats, fishing and smuggling of goods on both sides.
The Task Force was formed following a series of meetings between Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and his Ugandan counterpart Kale Kayihura.
According to Boinnet, the need to enhance border security beyond Migingo Island to cover the entire borderline from North to South was emphasised.
“They want to use fishing nets which are not allowed. They want to avoid paying taxes when it is due. Basically not following the law and that obviously cannot be allowed. You want to fish, do it according to the law. If you want to engage in any kind of trade anywhere you cannot do it without following the law,” he stated.
The police boss pointed out that the initiative is expected to restore security in the island, which has remained a source of conflict between Kenyans and Ugandans living there.
He revealed that the meeting recommended that police officers deployed at the island should enforce the law without favour or discrimination as to the nationality of the offender. “The fishing community should recognize the territorial boundaries and adhere to the law of the respective countries.”
“Police officers in liaison with the local leaders should ensure that all residents in the island are registered to avoid infiltration by criminals. There also needs to be a review the composition of either force on the island to include marine police,” he stated.
The Ugandan police chief who accompanied Boinnet on a tour of the island recently indicated that the new agreement will help restore security at the Island.
“You must respect the laws and regulations of fishing whether it is in the Ugandan part or the Kenyan part. That is the issue that they do not want to respect the regulations or laws that govern fishing. But otherwise even if marks are put there to determine where Migingo falls, it will not affect the fishing in Lake Victoria as long as you have got a license,” he stated.
“The maximum number of police officers to be deployed to the Island should not exceed 12 at any one time. The security officers as and when need arises should evacuate patients to the nearest health facilities in emergency cases.”
He stated the need for an optimal use of existing frameworks like the border security committees and the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) agreements. “The joint survey team should expedite the survey process and produce the required report.”
The Kenya and Uganda police bosses last week made a surprise visit to the disputed Migingo Island in Lake Victoria.
The duo flew in one chopper from Nairobi to Muhuru beach in Migori County before taking a speed boat to the island.
They later held a closed-door meeting with security officers manning the island.
Kenyan fishermen and traders have been complaining about harassment, intimidation and extortion by the Ugandan security forces
Source: Capital FM News