The territorial wars pitting Kenyan fishermen and Ugandan security officials in Lake Victoria is a growing headache for the East African Community.

The constant arrest and detention of Kenyan fishermen by Ugandan security officials is threatening the prosperity of the union formed to spearhead joint interests of the three states.

Ringiti Island

A fishmonger arranges her smoked fish at Ringiti Island of Lake Victoria. Fish business is flourishing in the island, fuelling conflict between Kenyan fishermen and Ugandan security officials. PHOTO | BARACK ODUOR | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Ringiti, a small rocky island in Lake Victoria, nationals of the three neighbouring countries live in harmony and often wonder why the territorial conflict exists.

When the Nation visited the island, Ugandans were preparing their boats for a night fishing expedition night and for transportation of Nile perch to their country. Kenyan fishermen were resting after a night of casting nets and loading fish while Tanzanian traders were in their shops.

Lake Victoria, Ringiti Island

Fishermen in a fishing expedition near Ringiti Island of Lake Victoria. Areas around the lake are rich with Nile perch. PHOTO | BARACK ODUOR | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In the makeshift bars, Ugandan women have taken lead in selling beverages to the islanders after long tiresome hours in the turbulent waters.

At Ringiti Primary School, which is located in the island's highest point, children play and often cross the school boundaries to wander in the rocky beaches.

Ringiti Island

Children from parents of different nationalities play in Ringiti Island of Lake Victoria unperturbed by the simmering conflict pitting Kenyan fishermen with Uganda security officers. PHOTO | BARACK ODUOR | NATION MEDIA GROUP

It is difficult to know that the children have parents who are Ugandans, Kenyans and Tanzanians if the conflict pitting the countries over the vast waters is anything to go by.

Ringiti is next to Remba Island, and is 3km away from Kenya-Uganda border in the lake.

Ringiti Island

Fish scales drying on a boat at Ringiti Island of Lake Victoria. The lucrative fish trade in the island is the reason for conflict between Kenyan fishermen and Ugandan security officials. PHOTO | BARACK ODUOR | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Joseph Odera, a Kenyan trader at the island for 10 years, says the territorial waters are threatening the unity that the nationals of the three countries have been enjoying in the tiny island.

"I have been selling beverages in the island for 10 years. Business has been good but now our stability is threatened by tensions arising from conflicts between Kenyan fishermen and Ugandan security officials," says Odera.

Lake Victoria, Ringiti Island

Ringiti Island in Lake Victoria as seen from the lake. The rocky island comprising of makeshift structures is known for lucrative fish trade. PHOTO | BARACK ODUOR | NATION MEDIA GROUP

George Omondi, another Kenyan fisherman says they have lived in the island as brothers as sisters because everyone is minding his or her own business, but the absence of peace is worrying them.

"We do not have problems with Ugandans or Tanzanians since they are like our brothers and sisters. We just want the governments to end this conflict threatening our stay in this island," says Omondi.

Ringiti Island

Mr George Omondi, a Kenyan fisherman in Ringiti Island of Lake Victoria, narrates his ordeal at the hands of Ugandan security officers. Fishermen in the island want governments of the two countries to end the conflict. PHOTO | BARACK ODUOR | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mariam Musonya, a Ugandan bar owner says her business is no longer flourishing because of uncertainty among fishermen in the island.

Page 1 of 2