Ugandan security agencies have on Thursday pulled down the Kenyan national flag at a disputed Migingo Island escalating the tension between the two countries further as both countries claims ownership over the small island located on Lake Victoria.
Migingo Beach Management Unit chairman Mr John Obunge said the Ugandan authority pulled down the Kenyan flag despite the agreement between the two countries to jointly operate on the island.
“They pulled down the flag and warned the Kenyan police deployed on the island against making such attempts again. Our officers argued that the flag must always be hoisted at a police post but the Ugandans would not listen to them,” Mr Obunge is told Kenya leading newspaper, the Daily Nation.
Mr Joseph Nthenge, the Migori county police commandant said the Kenyan police officers deployed at the contested island decided to keep calm for the sake of peace between the two countries.
The two countries have been in dispute over the same island since 2004 with several attempts to ease the tension between the two countries not yielding any positive results.
In 2016, the Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) registration officers barred from carrying out registration exercise with two clerks arrested.
Their voter registration equipment were also impounded by Ugandan security officers manning the disputed Migingo Island in Lake Victoria.
Kenyan Senate Minority Leader James Orengo on Thursday suggested that the Migingo row should be taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for arbitration. The Siaya Senator said all colonial maps showed that the island belonged to Kenya.
“The dispute has become an embarrassment to us and we must resolve it now using the goodwill created by the handshake between our two top leaders,” said Mr Orengo.
He added the ICJ has in the past handled territorial disputes of similar nature between other countries and the two countries can follow the same suit.