Six Ugandans have drowned after a boat in which they were sailing  to Kenya capsized on Saturday, DailyMonitor reports.

The boat which was loaded with fish and maize, had 13 people on board and was travelling from Hasusuni in Sigulu West to Port Victoria in Western Kenya, according to Mr Asavia Mawanda, the Officer-in-Charge of Marines on Sigulu Islands.

“The overloaded boat was hit by a strong wave, causing it to sink,” Mr Mawanda, who was speaking from the Marine Base in Maninga Beach in Sigulu Islands, said on Sunday.

He said that since the accident occurred on the Kenyan side of the water body, they have not been able to cross the border because of international protocols.

He, however, said they are working with police in Kenya to recover the missing persons as they wait for clearance from Kampala to allow them across the border to join the search.

Mr Mawanda identified the victims as Evans Okumu, a businessman from Bugoma Village who was also the owner of the boat; Bridget Erumbi, 11 and Carlos Wanyama, 2.

Others are David Mukuhu, who the coxswain of the boat, Sabastien Akuku, a farmer at Rabachi Landing Site in Sigulu West and Loyce Odembo, a fish trader.

The deceased, according to police, were not wearing life jackets while sailing.

“Our emphasis as marine police, has been that all transport boats should have life jackets for passengers’ safety,” Mr Mawanda said.

The survivors are said to have held on to sacks of silver fish before they were rescued by Kenyan fishermen. They are hospitalised at Port Victoria Hospital in Kenya.

Ms Almerida Ouma and Ms Levena Akinyi are some of the survivors.

On Sunday, one body had been retrieved and is being kept in a Kenyan morgue at Port Victoria as the search for the other missing bodies intensifies.

Mr Peter Okeyoh, an aspiring candidate for the Bukhooli Islands MP seat, described the incident as “very unfortunate”.

“I was with [Evans] Okumu, [one of the victims] celebrating my declaration as the NRM party flag bearer; it is sad to hear that he is dead,” Mr Okeyoh said. “Some traders appear to be working with security officers who allow them to cross the border into Kenya under the cover of the night.”

Mr George Ouma Abbot, the area Member of Parliament said that the ill-fated boat had left Hasusuni Landing Site, picking some passengers at Radanga, Bugoma and Buduma, before setting off for Kenya at about 9pm on Friday.

MP Abbot said that following a ban on cross border movements by President Museveni to combat the spread of Covid-19, several traders have resorted to flaunting the ban and travel to Kenya, especially at night.

Kenya Police sources at Port Victoria said efforts to retrieve more bodies were being hampered by bad weather.

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