Netizens have expressed anger following the arrests of four Kenyan students by Ugandan authorities for alleged illegal fishing.
The four are currently being held at Uganda’s Luzira Maximum prison after they were arrested at the shores of Lake Victoria.
They include two secondary school students, one of whom is a form four candidate and two standard eight pupils.
According to Ugandan news outlets, the penalty for illegal fishing involves a Sh50,000 fine or risk six months of jail term.
This means the candidates might fail to sit for their National examinations should their guardians fail to secure the fine imposed.
“We are unable to raise the fine. I tried to convince [prison authorities] to release the school-going children when I visited the prison last week but they were adamant,” said Mr Denis Sikhembo, a guardian to one of the children arrested.
For years, Kenyan fishermen have decried mistreatment from Ugandan authorities for fishing along Lake Victoria.
Last year, the fishermen recounted that police from the neighboring country always arrested Kenyan fishermen, and worse still they take away their fishing gear and incarcerate them unprocedurally.
“They assume huge losses at the hands of Ugandan police and authorities who patrol the lake and arrest these fishermen and their fishing gears at will. They have ruined the businesses of so many people over the years here as they place huge fines or even destroy the boats as well as auction the boat engines to their Ugandan counterparts,” one fisherman told a local publication.
The fishermen further accused the government of neglecting their pleas as their efforts to make a living were thwarted.
In all these incidences, the government has been silent only promising to resolve the issues. After that the arrests and harassments remain a story.