11 Ugandan boats impounded in Tanzania. Kasensero fishermen threaten violence.Tanzania demands Ushs.1.5millions to release the boats.
Tanzanian authorities have seized 11 fishing boats from Ugandan fishermen claiming they entered and were fishing illegally in Tanzanian waters.
The incident happened on Tuesday night when a group of Tanzanian marines stormed the fishermen who were busy laying their nets.
The fishermen were reportedly at a spot called Mabiro, about 15km north of Tanzanian town of Bukoba. Tanzania and Uganda share much of Lake Victoria.
Rose Nabakooza, the Rakai criminal investigations officer, says the Tanzanian marines took the boats and their gears to Bukoba.
According toNabakooza, several fishermen were also been arrested in the operation but were released not after being ordered to pay 1.5 million shillings to secure their boats.
The impounded boats belong to several businessmen in Kasensero landing site who usually hire them out to fishermen.
Gerald Kateregga, one of the affected fishermen, denies involvement in illegal fishing. He also denies allegations by the Tanzanian marines that they were caught fishing in Tanzanian waters.
Kateregga explains that the heavily armes marines ordered them to remove their fishnets and head to Bukoba. He says when they reached Bukoba, they were instead ordered to pay the 1.5 million shillings, which money they could not afford.
Katerega says after pleading, they were given a boat which they used to return home to look for more money to clear the boats.
Last evening, the police and fishermen convened a security meeting at Kasensero to discuss how to get back the boats.
The meeting chaired by Alex Twebaze, the Rakai DPC, turned rowdy when fishermen vowed to avenge the impounding of their boats.
As the tension mounted, include a threat by the fishermen to demonstrate, another crisi meting was called this morning in which a team was selected to rush to Tanzania to deal with the matter.
Since the year began, several Ugandan fishermen have been arrested and their boats confiscated in Tanzania for their alleged involvement in illegal fishing.
Recently, Ugandan fishermen arrested two Tanzanian marines to avenge the seizure of their boats in Bukoba. The two officers were released after Tanzania unconditionally released all the Ugandan suspects and boats they had captured.
kasensero landing site