Two fishermen drown in River Nile

Saturday July 24 2021
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Fishermen set up a vigil at the Nile Landing Site in Njeru Municipal Council, Buikwe District, while waiting for retrieval of bodies of their two colleagues who drowned on July 22, 2021. PHOTO/DENIS EDEMA

By Denis Edema

Security and search parties have intensified the hunt for bodies of two fishermen who drowned in River Nile when their boat capsized after it's engine reportedly developed a mechanical problem. 

The incident is said to have happened between the New Jinja Bridge and Uganda Railways Bridge at around 6:30pm on Thursday while the fishermen were going to cast their nets in the waters. One of them survived.

The deceased have been identified as Mansur Mokili from Yumbe District and Ismail Opel from Pakwach District, while Ismail Oukounci, who was steering the boat at the time of the accident survived.

“I don’t know how I managed to survive but what happened is very unfortunate,” he said. 

He added that he managed to alert officers from the marine section of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF.)

“The officers tried to rescue the fishermen but the fast-running water could not allow much searching,” UPDF Jinja Zonal spokesperson, Lt Jude Wandera confirmed presence of the force’s marine unit on the ground. 

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Fishermen sailing without lifejackets on River Nile, July 23, 2021. Nile Landing Site chairperson, Emmanuel Mange attributes some of the accidents on the water-body to carelessness amongst fishermen. PHOTO/DENIS EDEMA

Emmanuel Mange, the chairperson of the Nile Landing Site, which is located between Nalubaale Bridge and the New Jinja Bridge, noted that at least three fishermen have died under similar circumstances over a six-month period.

He attributed such accidents to the “irresponsibility” of some of his colleagues who have allegedly failed to wear lifejackets whenever they are sailing. He also denied claims that some of them go fishing when they are intoxicated.

“It is unfortunate that two of our colleagues have drowned while one managed to survive,” he said, adding that they are waiting for the bodies to surface and then make arrangements to transport them to their respective home districts.

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