A Kenyan fisherman says he escaped arrest and cheated death on Tuesday night after he jumped into Lake Victoria to escape from armed Ugandan marine officers who had impounded his boat during a fishing expedition near Majanji beach.
Mr Ben Wandera from Buduong’i village in Funyula Constituency of Busia County told the Nation that he swam for about 5 kilometres to save his life.
He said during the 1am incident, three of his colleagues were arrested and taken to a detention camp in Uganda.
“They (the soldiers) ambushed us when we were casting our fishing nets and started hitting us with clubs. They were about ten officers in an ordinary boat armed with guns and machetes.
“My colleagues who were at the front of the boat were hard hit but as some of the officers approached me, I grabbed a lifesaver jacket from our boat and dived into the lake,” said Mr Wandera.
SWAM TO SHORE
With the help of the jacket, he said he swam to the shores of the lake near Sio Port town.
“I dived into the lake to divert their attention with the hope that they would leave my friends but I could still hear their cries as I swam away. They did not even bother to follow me,” he added.
The fisherman, who said he is yet to report the ordeal to the police, appealed to Kenyan authorities to secure the lake and protect them from perennial harassment by Ugandan security men.
“Kenyan fishermen have been reduced to hostages in the lake by Ugandan soldiers. The government seems to have neglected its people. We are at the mercy of the Ugandan forces who not only steal from us but also beat up our people,” he said.
He urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to immediately deploy Kenyan marine officers to protect them from attacks.