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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Bodies still trapped in vessel wreckage in Uganda weekend accident

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Bodies are still in the wreckage of the ill-fated vessel that capsized over the weekend on Lake Victoria, a senior Ugandan police officer said Tuesday.

Asuman Mugenyi, Uganda’s police director of operations, told Xinhua by telephone that the police and military marines who on Tuesday resumed operations to pull the boat wreckage that capsized on Saturday near Mutima Island in Mukono district saw some bodies still trapped under.

“Our divers this morning saw one or two bodies still trapped in the boat. We believe more bodies are still under there,” said Mugyenyi.

A total of 27 people have been rescued from the Saturday disastrous accident so far, according to the military. The police put the number of the retrieved bodies at 33.

Local media put the number of those who were on board at around 120 people.

The vessel, with many partygoers, is reported to be overcrowded.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Uganda declares one day of national mourning for boat accident victims 

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Uganda government on Tuesday declared one day of national mourning for dozens of people who died in the weekend boat accident on Lake Victoria.

Moses Ali, Uganda’s First Deputy Prime Minister, told Parliament that Friday will be observed as a mourning day for the people who perished after a boat capsized on Saturday near Mutima Island in the central district of Mukono.

“I extend government’s condolences to the bereaved families and declare Nov. 30 a mourning day for the deceased,” said Moses Ali.

Ugandan legislators on Tuesday paid tribute to over 30 people who drowned after their boat capsized, with some blaming the government for failure to inspect the worthiness of the vessel.

At least some 35 bodies have been retrieved and 27 people rescued from the Saturday accident, according to the military.

The boat reportedly carried more than 120 weekend revelers, beyond its capacity of 100 from Port bell Luzira in the capital Kampala headed to Mutima Island on Lake Victoria, according to a local media report.

Boat accidents on Ugandan lakes are common due to overloading and strong winds.

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Uganda government  opens investigation into fatal boat accident

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- The Ugandan government has launched investigation into the cause of the Saturday night boat accident on Lake Victoria.

Moses Ali, first deputy Prime Minister, said in a statement issued on Sunday the aim of the investigation is to ensure that such an incident does not occur again.

He said the country would be briefed as soon as the investigation report is out.

He said government has also formed an inter-ministerial committee headed by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to handle the tragedy.

“Government has decided to release the bodies that have been cleared by police and identified by families and relatives,” he said.

President Yoweri Museveni in a condolence message on Sunday said preliminary information shows that the boat was unregistered and unlicensed.

Museveni said the boat had a capacity for 50 people only but there were about 120 passengers on board, who also seemed to be partying with a lot of music.

“They might not have heard the emergency commands of the captain, who is still unaccounted for,” the president said.

He said the tragedy should be a warning to everybody not to board boats that are overloaded, no life jackets and have no reliable navigation.

Museveni said the government has ordered the electronic registration and monitoring of all the boats so that authorities know who is where on the lake and why.

             

 

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