Uganda’s army brigade takes charge of Kenyan’s Migingo Island

February 15, 2017

Authorities in Uganda have replaced police officers who have been providing security at the disputed Migingo Island with the military elite brigade.

Uganda Police Force spokesman Felix Kaweesi revealed that Uganda has withdrawn its Marine police replacing them with Special Forces Command (SFC) and have been assigned to provide security.

He says the elite military force will work in collaboration with Kenyan Police Forces and that they would be in charge of the one-acre island that has been a centre of conflict between Uganda and Kenya.

It’s not yet clear whether Kenya will also deploy the military instead of police since their counterpart Uganda has deployed the army.

Kaweesi says police would give support to SFC in case there was need; adding that the marine officers accused of engaging in criminal activities. The marine police officers have been withdrawn following allegations that they indulged in criminal activities. The police mouthpiece said they would be investigated and possibly reverted to other police units after undergoing refresher courses.

The police force never divulge the exact number of the affected police officers, however, a senior source from within police circles said more than 100 police marines have already been recalled from the island and are undergoing refresher course so as to be deployed in other units.

In a bid to end the hostilities at Migingo Island, both Kenya and Uganda agreed to form a joint taskforce that saw police in the two countries patrol the disputed island in Lake Victoria and the entire common border.

At the time of deploying these marine police officers in 2013, the Inspector General of Police Edward Kale Kayihura while at Kenya’s police headquarters at Jogoo House in Nairobi said the taskforce would look into allegations of human rights violations, address cross-border terrorism, cattle rustling, contraband goods and also delve deeper into border policing issues.

In 2013, a lobby group wrote to the International Criminal Court requesting for investigations into claims that Uganda forces were violating the rights of the people living on the Island.

However, Chris Magezi, the Special Force Command (SFC) spokesperson, said SFC was only going to be part of the UPDF marine force that shall be deployed on all Ugandan national waters to combat illegal fishing as directed by President Museveni.