Four students, including two KCPE candidates and a KCSE candidate, have been detained in Ugandan prison for being in possession of illegal fishing gear on the country’s side of Lake Victoria.
Media reports indicate that the students, who are being held at Luzira Maximum Security Prison, risk missing their national exams should their families fail to pay the fine imposed.
The students were reportedly handed each a Ksh50,000 fine or else serve a six-month jail term.
KCPE candidates during a past rehearsal
File The reports have sparked condemnation from the students’ families who are urging the government to intervene and resolve the stalemate. They noted that their children lived in deplorable conditions in the cells.
Luzira Maximum security prison is the only prison in Uganda that houses death row inmates. The prison, which was designed to accommodate 1,700 inmates, has over 8,000 prisoners.
“We are unable to raise the fine. I tried to convince [prison authorities] to release the school-going children when I visited the prison last week but they were adamant,” one of the parents told NTV.
Busia County Commander, Ahmed Omar, stated that the government is only aware of two reported cases. He, however, noted that the mandate falls within the parents’ hands to pay the fine as the government cannot intervene.
“We are only aware of two cases of minors in Luzira Maximum Prison in Uganda. But there is nothing we can do and they will have to pay the fine or serve the jail term of six months,” he stated.
He faulted Kenyan fishermen for contravening the fishing laws, noting that the government has been consistently sensitising the public on the matter.
“Our people are the problem. We have sensitised them but they are not cooperating. Ugandans will not entertain them when they fail to adhere to laid-down rules when fishing,” he stated.
In the past couple of months, over 60 Kenyan fishermen have been arrested by Ugandan police due to defying fishing laws.
The entrance of Luzira Maximum Security prison located in Kampala, Uganda.
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