August 5, 2011

Pirates threaten Lake Victoria fishing

Pirates operate at will in Lake Victoria, wreaking havoc on fishermen and travelers, a maritime expert has warned. "There have been hundreds of acts of piracy on fishermen in the lake as war lords have virtually declared independence on some of the islands," charged a maritime safety and security officer, Mr Gervas Fumbuka. He said the pirates have taken advantage of police laxity to patrol the lake in the absence of motor boats to track them down, adding that passengers now fear of being hijacked while travelling in the lake as pirates sometimes pretend to be passengers."Cases of people missing in Lake Victoria have become common.

Sometimes boats stolen are never found," he also said. Mr Fumbuka, who is in charge of marine safety and security in the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), said the growth of piracy, robbery and insecurity in the lake threatens the interests of the East African Community (EAC) partner states and people dependent on the lake for transport and fisheries."What remains doubtful is the extent to which spontaneous responses to piracy, robbery and insecurity in the region can address the problem in a sustainable manner," he pointed out. There had been numerous pleas by the people living in the lake to take action against the escalating cases of piracy. However, there has not been sufficient data on the piracy incidences in the vast shared water body covering 69,000 square kilometres although the official disclosed that recently rouges murdered 14 fishermen at one small island in Tanzania. (The Citizen)

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