Uganda Officers Manhandled Kenyan Counterparts On Island

By Elisha Otieno

Governor Okoth Obado has demanded an end to the harassment of Kenyan officers and administrators manning the disputed Migori Island by their Ugandan counterparts.

"Their actions are undermining the spirit of the East African Community," he said.

"After continuously harassing our fishermen, they have now turned on our officers. This is provocation of the highest order," the governor said yesterday.

Mr Obado said it was time the two nations settled the ownership of the island issue once and for all.

"I am going to push this matter to be addressed immediately by our top leaders. We cannot be talking about this dispute forever," vowed the county boss.

MANHANDLED

He made the remarks following an incident in which a Kenyan police officer and an assistant chief were manhandled by Ugandan officers on the island.

The governor urged the national government to send more well equipped personnel to the island.

In the weekend incident, an AP officer had his uniform torn by a Ugandan officer when he tried to stop the arrest of a woman administrator.

The Ugandans claimed the assistant chief, Ms Esta Masasi, was relaying intelligence to the Kenyan Government.

They also opposed her stay on Migingo Island.

The incident came barely a week after the same officers detained two Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission clerks who were registering Kenyan voters on the island.

Last month, the Nation highlighted how Kenyan fishermen on the island were yearning to be enlisted as voters.

They said since there was an assistant chief on the island, it was part of Kenya.

In the last elections, the electoral commission set up a polling station on the island following pressure from Kenyans living there.

The fish-rich island is being jointly managed by Kenyan and Ugandan security officers pending a determination on its ownership in a dispute that has raged since 2002.

The Ugandan security team is estimated to comprise more than 20 officers while Kenya has only 12.

Source: All Africa