Police identify victims of Lake Albert boat accident

Monday May 20 2019

The Albertine Regional Police spokesperson Mr

The Albertine Regional Police spokesperson Mr Julius Hakiza addressing the media recently. FILE PHOTO 

By FRANCIS MUGERWA

At least nine people have been confirmed after a boat they were travelling in capsized on Lake Albert on Sunday evening. Some of the deceased were members of Fofo football team a Ugandan football team found in Hoima district.

The boat was travelling from Fofo landing site in Buseruka Sub County to Runga landing site in Kigorobya Sub County in Hoima District, western Uganda, when it capsized, with police attributing the accident to overloading and bad weather.

"So far we have recovered nine bodies ... up to 15 people are missing and a joint Marine unit is on the waters. But we expect no more survivors," the Albertine region Police spokesperson, Julius Allan Hakiza, said.

Police and UPDF marine officials have since identified the bodies of nine who died in the capsize as; Majid Mayaya, coach Fofo football team, Winnie Oyenyi, a bar maid in Tonya parish, Sunday Nyayenga, 22, Fisto Larwoth, 20, Ayera Biwaga, Kothu Jerses, 19 Anita Janet, 18, Omirambe and one Pascal.
A local official in Fofo, Baker Ogen, told this reporter the toll was higher.
"Those who have died in this tragedy are 30 and all from my area," said Ogen.

"The boat was loaded with our players and supporters. It had over 60 people but 32 of those survived," he said, adding that the dead included five players and the team coach.
"It is a tragedy for us and a big loss," he added.

In December 2016, at least 30 Ugandan members of a village football team and their fans drowned when their boat capsized on Lake Albert during a party.

In 2014 at least 251 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo drowned on the lake while returning home from Uganda.

Such accidents are common in Africa's Great Lakes region, where boats are often the only form of transportation, are over-crowded and poorly maintained, and few people know how to swim.

Almost 140 people died last month on Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Last year in Tanzania 228 people drowned when a ferry sank just metres from the shore on Lake Victoria.

Past accidents
In December 2016, more than 40 people drowned in Lake Albert on Christmas Day as they travelled to participate in a friendly football match.

Footballers and fans from Kaweibanda Village in Buliisa District were travelling by water to Runga Landing Site in Hoima District for a football match to crown their Christmas Day festivities.

fmugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com

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