Kenya arrests 109 Tanzanians for illegal fishing

By The Eastafrican

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The Kenya Navy on Saturday arrested 109 Tanzanians for illegal fishing within the country’s territorial waters in the Indian Ocean.

The fishermen, who were seized in Shimoni, a port village in southeastern Kenya near the border with Tanzania, were presented before a court in Kwale County on Monday.

They were remanded for failing to raise a cash bail of Ksh20,000 ($200) each, the Business Daily said, quoting Lunga Lunga deputy county deputy commissioner Mr Josphat Biwott.

But Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani appealed for the fishermen’s release, urging Deputy President William Ruto to intervene to avoid a diplomatic row between the two countries.

“Those who were arrested are our brothers and we share a lot in common because most of the people living in Shimoni depend on fishing for their livelihood,” he said.

He was speaking at Kwale Baraza Park during the World Environment Day on Tuesday.

Kenya and Tanzania have had a series of diplomatic and trade disputes that sour relations between the two neighbours.

Earlier this year, the two countries began an exercise to mark the boundary by replacing dilapidated and missing beacons and developing a vista along the common border.

The two nations share a 769km border.

The Kenya-Tanzania border is shared among communities from both sides and there has been cross-border business, agriculture and cattle grazing, especially by Maasai herders.

Mr Mwashetani said that some of the Tanzanians arrested lived in the country.

In the past, Kenyan fishermen have accused foreign nations of engaging in illegal fishing using big vessels along the coastline.