A UPDF officer and three top officials from the ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries are among six Ugandans arrested by the Kenya security officials at the Busia-Kenya border amid an ongoing fish row.
The officials include; Maj Robert Ariho attached to the Fish protection unit at Entebbe, Paul Okwara, a principle secretary fisheries, Simon Jonan Imongoti, a fisheries inspector at Busia border, Eugene Egesa, the Busia district fisheries officer, John Michael Amodoi, a clearing agent at the Busia border and one other unidentified official said to be a UPDF soldier.
The six Ugandans were arrested at the office of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) manager after crossing the border, as they waited to meet some Kenyan authorities over fish trade.
According to Daily Monitor, the officials were handcuffed by the Kenyan police and taken out of the customs premises and marched to a waiting police car before they were whisked off to Busia Kenya police station.
“Kindly note that the said officials are not in police custody. The incident was as a result of miscommunication between country officials. This was however resolved and the officials allowed to go about their business,” the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) tweeted Saturday evening in response to Daily Monitor’s tweet about the officials’ arrest.
The Ugandan officials had been led across the Kenyan border by Florence Atieno, the Kenya national cross border women chairperson, to inspect and ascertain the quality of fish in Busia Kenya market with a view of clearing its export to DR Congo allegedly on orders of Uganda’s fisheries state minister, Hellen Adoa.
“We arrived here several hours back. We have been waiting to be cleared by the Kenya authorities to have a meeting and look at the fish in their market but everybody we are contacting says it is a weekend,” Maj Ariho was heard complaining.
The meeting between the Ugandan officials and the KRA manager at first appeared cordial as the Ugandan officials requested to have a look at the fish to ascertain its size before clearing it for export.
Drama, however, started unfolding when a group of Kenyan fish exporters gathered at the office and started accusing Ugandan officials of impounding their fish which was enroute to DR Congo, at the Mpondwe border post in Kasese District.
The situation worsened when the Kenyan traders attempted to force their way into the room where the Ugandan officials were seated, claiming they were being made to repay back loans they got for their businesses yet their fish was impounded by “cartels in Uganda led by some traders who are working with the Ugandan army.”
This reporter who was at the border as the drama unfolded was stopped from taking pictures by Customs local guard and threatened with arrest.
Moments later security operatives in plain clothes and the Kenya administration police armed with AK 47 assault rifles deployed and surrounded the office of the KRA manager.
As the Ugandan officials were being whisked away, Kenya traders ran after the patrol car in jubilation, saying it was time the Uganda officials realized Kenya had a tougher security team.
Credit: Daily Monitor