Namibia: Six Children Drown in Zambezi

Six children drowned near the Chobe River when the boat they were travelling in capsized few minutes after leaving the Nakabolelwa shore.

Zambezi crime investigations coordinator Deputy Commissioner Evans Simasiku confirmed the incident to New Era.

According to Simasiku, the civilian boat, which was destined to Impalila island, and is authorised to carry seven passengers, had 18 passengers, including the skipper on board.

He added the boat was also full of luggage, as the residents had come for shopping in Katima Mulilo.

Those on board included five police officers based at Impalila police station, who and eight others survived after swimming and being assisted by other boat skippers. The survivors are aged between five and 52.

The victims, whose ages are not yet known and believed to be members of the same family, were identified as Matengu Matengu, Lumba Matengu, Sikanda Muluti and two others who are still missing, Simasiku Muluti and Sikanda Sikanda.

Simasiku stated that "What caused the accident is overloading - and since it was windy, the boat could not sustain the weight it was carrying. My message to the boat skippers is that they should not look at the money. They should look at the safety of the people".

Kabbe South councillor John Likando described the incident as a tragedy and regrettable.

"We are equally to blame as government on the incident which happened due to lack of public transport, and people are taking risks. Our rivers are also not regulated. People are just loading anyhow, and others are sailing without skills," he said.

Asked about government's Kapelwa Kabajani ferry, Likando explained the ferry has not been operating because its skipper has not been around.

He added residents also prefer using the smaller boats due to the shorter time they take in the water.

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