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Wednesday, 17 October, 2001, 17:54 GMT 18:54 UK
Lake Victoria islands 'invaded'
A Kenyan MP has accused Uganda of invading a group of islands on Lake Victoria

Kenyan MP Rapahel Wanjala, who represents the area, says Ugandan security personnel have occupied some islands on the Kenyan side of Lake Victoria

The Ugandan authorities say the islands belong to them.

Lake Victoria
Competition for fishing rights is fierce

Uganda has been taking steps recently to prevent Kenyans fishing illegally in their waters, but Mr Wanjala said that it seems to him that they have taken over the whole lake.

"These islands belong to us. They bear our names," Mr Wanjala told BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

Fishing row

The dispute about the ownership of the islands is linked to a long-running row about fishing rights on the Lake which gathered momentum in recent months.

Kenya's fishermen have been unhappy for a while, complaining of harassment from Ugandan officials.

Local Kenyan fisheries officials accuse their Ugandan counterparts of introducing new regulations without consulting them.

But a recent fishing agreement was signed by Kenyan and Ugandan fisheries officials.

Among the conditions that have frustrated Kenyans is the requirement that the boats used should not be longer than five metres and the maximum engine strength be limited to five horsepower.

This, according to Kenyan fishermen, favours Ugandans and they are threatening to resort to desperate measures.

Four years ago unknown groups of fishermen used poison at various points in Lake Victoria killing fish indiscriminately and polluting the water.

The European Commission banned the import of fish from the Lake for more than two years following that incident.

Kenyan MP Raphael Wanjala
"It is as if they have taken over the whole lake"
See also:

15 Jan 01 | Africa
East African Community reborn
24 Aug 01 | Africa
Timeline: Uganda
07 Aug 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Kenya
25 Jul 01 | Africa
Timeline: Kenya
26 Jul 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Uganda
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