A tiny, 0.49-acre island in Africa houses 131 inhabitants and caused 'Africa's smallest war'

Migingo island 4Carl De Souza/Stringer/Getty ImagesMigingo Island on Lake Victoria.

The INSIDER Summary:

• Migingo Island is crowded with fishermen.
• The surrounding waters are full of Nile perch, a valuable export.
• Kenya and Uganda fought over ownership of the island; Kenya won.

Migingo Island on Lake Victoria is a fishing hub teeming with Nile perch, a profitable export to the European Union. With lots of money to be made and little space to fit all of the fisherman seeking their share, the tiny, 0.49-acre rock is covered with overlapping houses.

Ownership of the island has overlapped, as well, causing a dispute between Kenya and Uganda over who owns the valuable fishing waters.

Migingo Island is a 0.49-acre island island in Lake Victoria, one of the African Great Lakes.

Carl De Souza/Stringer/Getty Images

A 2009 census reports a population of 131 people, though others place it at around 500.

Carl De Souza/Stringer/Getty Images

The waters surrounding Migingo Island are rich in Nile perch, and the valuable fishing waters have been disputed by its neighbouring countries.

Carl De Souza/Stringer/Getty Images

Kenya and Uganda both claimed ownership of the island in what The Independent dubbed 'Africa's smallest war.'

Carl De Souza/Stringer/Getty Images

As Daniel Howden reports, the profitable fishing waters attracted pirates, and Uganda was the first to respond. Then they decided to cash in, instituting costly entry permits and arresting fishermen without them. Kenya responded in kind by claiming the island, and Uganda sent Marines.

Foreign ministers of both countries stepped in before the conflict escalated, and the demarcation line attributing it to Kenya was set in 2009.

Carl De Souza/Stringer/Getty Images

Kenyans and Ugandans now share space on the small rock that is less than half the size of a football field.

Carl De Souza/Stringer/Getty Images

It's home to four pubs, a pharmacy, a hair salon, and several brothels.

Carl De Souza/Stringer/Getty Images

Concerns about poverty and over fishing still persist.

Carl De Souza/Stringer/Getty Images

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