Posted Monday, August 15 2011
- Officers to guard island alongside their Ugandan counterparts as stalled survey is set to resume
Kenya finally moved on Monday to co-manage the disputed Migingo Island in Lake Victoria.
The country sent a team of about 40 armed security officers to guard the island alongside the Ugandan marine police.
This is the first time Kenya has taken such action since the ownership row broke out in 2004.
Kenya’s national flag will also fly on the island for the first time in the history of Migingo.
The move was part of a resolution by a joint ministerial committee that comprised Kenyan and Ugandan ministers.
The Kenyan team was represented by Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and Lands Minister James Orengo, among others, at a meeting held in Nairobi recently.
The team agreed to complete the stalled survey of the island in a bid to locate its boundary but in the meantime security forces from both countries are guarding the fish-rich island.
Nyatike district commissioner Alan Machari, who received the Kenyan officers en route to Migingo, said they had finalised arrangements for their accommodation on the rocky island.
“The officers drawn from both the regular and Administration police units have been trained on marine operations and are expected to stay there until the ownership row is sorted out by the higher authorities,” he said.
Although Uganda has only about 30 uniformed and plainclothes officers on the island who work in shifts, the Kenyan team is bigger in terms of numbers and equipment.
“As is the tradition, our flag will be hoisted in the camp where the officers will be staying and they will work with the Ugandan security forces,” the DC added.
Nyatike MP Edick Anyanga, who has been vocal on the need to send Kenyan officers, said the government had finally responded to the cries of Kenyan fishermen and traders who have been facing harassment from the neighbouring country’s security officers.
“What now remains is work by the survey team to resolve the row once and for all,” he said.