In Summary
  • The Special Forces emptied their armoury by arming themselves with their guns and strapping belts of ammunition around their necks and chests, turning the island into a war zone as folks there remained indoors.
  • Migori County police boss Joseph Nthenge said they were "keenly monitoring the situation" but "there is no cause for alarm".
  • Last week, Nyatike MP Tom Mboya Odege accused the national government of continuously paying lip service in the Migingo ownership row.
  • Senate Minority Leader James Orengo said the Migingo row should be taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for arbitration as “we cannot forever talk about the Migingo dispute”.

Ugandan security forces have brought all fishing activities on Migingo Island to a standstill, apparently after receiving reports that their Kenyan counterparts were planning to hoist their flag on the disputed, rocky island.

On Thursday, they patrolled the island in combat gear and shot in the air, forcing Kenyan traders and fishermen to remain indoors.

'GUNSHOTS EVERYWHERE'

The Special Forces emptied their armoury by arming themselves with their guns and strapping belts of ammunition around their necks and chests, turning the island into a war zone as folks there remained indoors.

This was just hours after they pulled down a Kenyan flag that was hoisted on Wednesday and removed the flag post.

"The situation is bad ... gunshots everywhere. The Ugandans received information that Kenya was sending many security officers today, which turned out to be false," said Mr John Obunge, the chairman of the Migingo Beach Management Unit.

The Kenyan security officers stayed put in their camp.

"They are shooting in the air, apparently to forestall a plan that was not there in the first place. We don't know why they are wasting their ammunition," said a Kenyan officer who requested anonymity.

Migori County police boss Joseph Nthenge said they were "keenly monitoring the situation" but "there is no cause for alarm".

UGANDA FLAG ONLY

Although the island is jointly manned by Kenyan and Ugandan security forces, only the Ugandan flag is allowed to fly.

The decision to jointly police the island was reached between Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Yoweri Museveni as part of efforts to reach a legal solution to the island's ownership.

In the latest conflict, Kenyan security forces backed down after the Ugandan officers warned against hoisting a Kenyan flag again.

But Kenyan fishermen taunted the Ugandans for disrespecting their government.

"They warned the Kenyan police officers never to do such a thing again," said Mr Obunge.

"Our officers argued that the flag must always be hoisted at a police post, like the one that has been set up in Migingo, but the Ugandans would not listen to them," he added.

The Ugandan forces are outnumber the Kenyans.

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