Continuous Boat Engine Thefts Threaten Buvuma Island Fishermen’s Livelihoods and Safety

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Fishermen along the borders of Kenya and Tanzania in the Buvuma Islands have called upon the government to intervene in the continuous theft of their boat engines in Lyabana Town Council in Buikwe district.

This comes after the theft of more than ten boat engines in just two days.

According to the fishermen last week, unidentified thugs attacked some fishermen who had gone fishing in the middle of the lake in the wee hours of the morning, beat them up, and took off with eight boat engines.

They added that on April 28, 2024, the fishermen were attacked, and an unidentified number of boat engines were stolen again.

During an interview with journalists on April 29, 2024, Buvuma Islands MP Robert Migadde Nduggwa highlighted that the continuous theft of boat engines is hindering the fishing business on the Buvuma Islands and that the lives of the fishermen are at stake because they are always attacked in large numbers by the thugs, who most times injure or kill them when they try to fight them off.

Migadde added that another challenge is communicating with the Fishing Police Unit, which is hard via the islands due to the poor network.

“These thugs are highly trained and experienced, which puts the lives of the fishermen at risk once such tragedies strike because they know the islands so well that by the time the fishing police unit comes to their rescue, they have already vanished with the fishermen’s fishing apparatus,” Migadde revealed.

He further called upon all local council leaders to be careful while registering those who migrate to the islands because it is likely that the thugs disguise themselves as new people looking for accommodation on the islands, yet they are just thieves who want to first study the islands and the fishermen’s daily activities so that they can easily steal from them and get away without being traced.

Migadde added that two boat engines were stolen in Lyabana Town Council in the Libu Islands, and one was found in Kenya, while others were taken to Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert.

He further urged the government to intervene in this issue because the islands are near the Kenya-Tanzania border, so these thugs might be coming from there and are working with some fishermen from the islands to steal these boat engines.

The collaboration between the thugs and certain fishermen suggests a larger network operating across borders, making it crucial for the government to address this issue promptly and strengthen security measures in the area.

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