Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Nine people perish in Lake Tanganyika boat accident

6th January 2013

Nine people are confirmed to have drowned on Lake Tanganyika last Thursday after the boat they were traveling in capsized in Kigoma region. Kigoma Regional Police Commander Fraisser Kashai confirmed the occurrence of the tragic accident, adding that bodies of the drowned persons had since been recovered.
According to the regional police boss, among the dead were seven women and two boys. He said seven bodies of the women and a boy were identified by their relatives.He said the bodies were recovered at the scene of the accident at Herembe Village in Uvinza district in Kigoma region and were subsequently preserved at Maweni regional hospital.

The dead were identified as Mzinga Kandoro who was a teacher at Filbert Bayi Primary School in Dar es Salaam, Mary Kawaya and Shami Baba alias Mama Baba, both residents of Nkasi district.
Others included a person nicknamed Wa Mjini, a Burundi national, Sarah Joseph and Mama Seba, both residents of Karungu in Nkasi district. Also in the list was a child identified as Shadrack Amyashi.
Giving details of the accident, the RPC said the boat left Kipiri Kirando Village in Rukwa region on Wednesday at around 4 pm via Rumonge Village on the Burundi side before heading to Uvira Township in DR Congo.

The boat arrived at Herembe Village in Uvinza district, Kigoma region on Thursday at around 10 pm but capsized after being struck by heavy tides. It was carrying 45 tonnes of cargo and 85 passengers.
He said 64 passengers were rescued. Until yesterday when the RPC was speaking to The Guardian on Sunday, 10 passengers were still unaccounted for.

RPC Kashai said communication was difficult due to lack of communication and location of the area – as well as infrastructure challenges. Owing to these hurdles it was impossible to get travel information on that boat to get to know if it was on routine internal voyage or plying an inter-state route.
He said rescue operations were being carried out by the Tanzania Peoples Defense Forces (TPDF) personnel, the Police Force and officials from Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (Sumatra).

The regional police boss said the boat was property of a man identified as Msiwa Khamis, a resident of Ujiji, Kigoma. He is being held by police for questioning.
The captain of the boat Seif Akilimali (34) was among the survivors of the accident. He is also under police investigation. Sumatra Public Relations Officer David Mziray said the ill-fated boat was christened Yarabi Tunusuru and indeed it was owned by Msiwa Khamisi, a resident of Ujiji Kigoma.
The boat was registered last October with the registration NO. KST 0029, with the capacity to carry 50 tons.

After the accident on Thursday , members of the regional security committee led by the Regional Commissioner, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Issa Machibya went to investigate the matter at the scene of the accident. Witnesses say the boat was loaded with sardines and more than 100 passengers, and that it capsized following strong winds. From Tarime, Police report that two people died in separate incidents, including a secondary school student who was struck by the lightening.

Tarime police zone commander Justusi Kamugisha said Rebu secondary school student Marwa Chacha died on Thursday at the school playgrounds where he met his fate. During the incident another person identified as James Homaye (46), was injured. In another incident, a person identified as Masele Magumba (44), a resident of Bariadi district, Shinyanga region was found dead near his house after being assaulted with a sharp edged instrument, possibly a knife or machete. Kamugisha said the late Magumba was allegedly killed by a person known only as Nindwa, a close friend. Nindwa who is still at large was demanding a repayment of Sh60,000 that the late Magumba owed the alleged killer.

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