March 26, 2014

L. Albert Boat Disaster: Police Stranded With Bodies

Members of the Uganda Police Marine Unit participate in a rescue operation after a boat carrying mostly Congolese refugees capsized in Lake Albert near Ntoroko, southwest of Uganda's capital Kampala. Reuters
Members of the Uganda Police Marine Unit participate in a rescue operation after a boat carrying mostly Congolese refugees capsized in Lake Albert near Ntoroko, southwest of Uganda’s capital Kampala. Reuters

The police and Uganda Red Cross Society in Bundibugyo are stuck with 20 bodies of Congolese refugees who drowned in Lake Victoria on Saturday. 

This morning trucks belonging to the police and Red Cross carrying the bodies arrived at the Uganda-DRC border at Busunga to hand over the bodies to the Congolese for burial.

However, they were turned down by the Congolese authorities who refused to receive the bodies.  The Congolese officials reportedly said they are tired of burying the bodies and lack enough burial space.

One of the Congolese officials from Kamango only identified as Alpha, told reporters at Busunga that they have buried more than 50 bodies since Saturday and don’t want to bury anymore bodies.

Our reporter, who is at Busunga border post says there is a still a standoff between the Congolese authorities and the police.

A police officer at Busunga, who is part of the group that had taken the bodies, but preferred anonymity because he isn’t authorized to speak to the press, told local media that if the Congolese authorities insist on not burying the bodies, they will take them to Bubukwanga, 10 kilometers from Busunga, where they will be buried in a mass grave.

The number of bodies that have so far been retrieved from Lake Albert following the Saturday morning boat accident has reached 106. The boat was transporting Congolese refugees.  The number of people on board is not known but some officials say there close to 250 travelers.

The accident occurred at Kitebere landing site as the Congolese refuges were trying to make their way home through Ntoroko district from Kyangwali refugee camp. 41 refugees were rescued alive by fishermen. The accident has been blamed on overloading and sailing under influence of alcohol.

2 thoughts on “L. Albert Boat Disaster: Police Stranded With Bodies

  1. The police insists that the cause of the Boat accident was a result of over loading and influence of alcohol. It is a signal to the Uganda Police force to institute the lake Marine Traffic police, to check on the water traffic and also control over loading because this is a disaster looming elsewhere, Recently when I visited Ngamba Island, a chimpanzee sanctuary we met a number of over loading canoe boats loaded with passengers and merchandise. Prevention is better than cure

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