The National Police Service of Kenya and Uganda Police Force will cooperate to help ease tension among residents of Migingo Island. The joint operation will also fight terrorism, smuggling and human trafficking across the common borders on Lake Victoria.
At a joint press conference in Nairobi on Wednesday at which they released a joint communique, Uganda’s Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura and Joseph Boinnet, the Inspector General of Police Kenya, outlined the measures, that will include joint patrols.
The two police chiefs had last week visited the once disputed islands amidst intelligence reports of increased insecurity and trade disputes.
Boinnet said that after the visit, they agreed to constitute a Joint Task Force of technical personal to review specific areas of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to enhance security at Migingo Island. The Task Force will review the composition of either force on the island to include marine police.
Among the measures agreed was that police in liaison with local leaders should ensure that all residents in the island are registered to avoid infiltration by criminals.
Police officers from Uganda or Kenya have been given the go-ahead to arrest suspects, regardless of their nationality, Boinnet revealed. They also asked that the fishing community should recognize the territorial boundaries and adhere to the law of the respective countries.
The two countries’ claims to the island on the border have previously led to a diplomatic tussle. The two countries previously agreed to have the area surveyed to establish the territorial boundary.
Pursuant to the Intelligence reports of alleged resurgence of criminal activities in Migingo Island, and in the spirit of ensuring peace and security in the Island as had earlier been agreed in a meeting held in Kampala, Uganda on 23rd August 2011, and following a directive contained in the Joint Ministerial Communiqué signed on 26th July 2011 at Nairobi Kenya, there was a joint visit to the Island by Chiefs of Police from the two countries on 17th August, 2016.
The Uganda delegation was led by General Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police, while the Kenya delegation was led by Mr. Joseph Boinnet, the Inspector General of Police.
The two delegations held two meetings, one of which was held at Migingo Island, while the other meeting was held at Muhuru Bay, Migori County.
Both meetings were held in cordial atmosphere, and in attendance in the meeting at Migingo Island also were the local community leaders.
The meeting agreed to constitute a Joint Task Force of technical personal from the two sides to review specific areas of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to enhance security at Migingo Island that include 1. Deployment 2. Joint Operations 3. Arms Control 4. Communication 5. Crime Management 6. Community Policing.
The meeting noted the need to enhance border security beyond Migingo Island to cover the entire borderline from North to South in order to address the contemporary trans – national crime.
The meeting recommended the following
1. That police officers deployed at the island should enforce the law without favor or discrimination as to the nationality of the offender.
2. That the fishing community should recognize the territorial boundaries and adhere to the law of the respective countries.
3. The Police Officers in liaison with the local leaders should ensure that all residents in the island are registered to avoid infiltration by criminals.
4. To review the composition of either force on the island to include Marine Police.
5. That the maximum number of police officers to be deployed should not exceed 12 at any one time.
6. That the security officers as and when need arises, may evacuate the patients to the nearest health facilities in emergency cases.
7. That the Kenya Police add an organic weapon. I.e. one light machine gun commensurate to the weapons with the counterparts.
8. Optimal use of the existing frameworks like the border security committees and the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) agreements.
9. The joint survey team should expedite the survey process and produce the required report.
Allegations contained in the intelligence report are conclusively investigated