Uganda Marine officers and Kenya Local Administration police on Monday got involved in a shootout at Migingo Island after the latter attempted to recover motor boat engines that had been impounded.
Although no one was injured in the incident, it drew fears from both Kenya and Uganda leaders prompting an emergency meeting to resolve the matter involving suspected theft.
Busoga East region police commander, Moses Muluya, who was part of the team that visited the area, confirmed the scuffle but declined to comment on the details of the shooting.
“The incident has been exaggerated. What I can say is there was just a deadlock,” Mr Muluya said yesterday.
Both Uganda and Kenya claim ownership of Migingo Island, which is near a major fishing zone.
Uganda police have often detained Kenya Local Administration police officers, who they accuse of illegally entering Ugandan waters on Migingo Island in Lake Victoria.
Mr Muluya said they have met Kenyan authorities and made an agreement on resolving the matter.
The incident was sparked off by Ugandan marine officers who impounded a Yamaha and Suzuki boat engines from a Kenyan national.
Mr Muluya said they suspected they had been robbed from Uganda since Kenya doesn’t allow the sale of those two types of engines on their market.
“The two types are sold in Uganda but they are among the most robbed engines here. So he was tasked to produce documentation of ownership of the engines,” he said.
The area is mobbed by pirates who often steal merchandise and engine boats from Ugandan traders.
events to shootout
Blocked. Available information indicates that police officers blocked Kenyan fishermen from fishing from Ugandan waters after arresting a man suspected to have stolen boat engines.
Served. The move angered Kenyan fishermen and police officers who attempted to force their way into Ugandan waters but were repelled, leading to a shootout.