Kenyan fishermen have begun leaving Migingo following the deployment of Ugandan soldiers on the disputed Lake Victoria island.
The fishermen retreated to the mainland beaches of Sori, Muhuru and Mugabo in Migori County “until we establish the intention of this new team”.
“They are not ordinary marine police. They look like members of a special force,” Mr John Obonyo said.
Tension has been building for days after Uganda replaced all security officers on the island.
Marine and regular police officers left with their belongings in different boats for new assignments.
The new team with new weapons arrived immediately the other left, the fishermen said.
“We are worried because the group has heavier and more sophisticated weapons. The situation is even more scary, given that the elections are just months away,” Mr Wilson Onyango said.
Migori County police boss David Kirui said the government was aware of the new deployment but insisted that the Ugandans were not military officers.
“They are members of the regular police and some marine officers. This is a normal change-over,” he said.
Mr Kirui said there were claims of corruption among members of the old team.
“We have also replaced some of our officers because they had become too friendly to the fishermen to enforce the law,” the police commander told journalists.