Ruto visit sees Lake Victoria search operation for missing officers halted

Muhuru Bay Boat Accident

A beach in Muhuru Bay in Migori county. Security officers involved in the rescue mission of their colleagues who capsized in Muhuru Bay on Thursday night have been deployed to provide security during President Ruto’s tour of the region.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The search mission for three police officers who went missing after a boat they were traveling in capsized in Lake Victoria on Thursday night has been called off.

Migori County Commissioner Mark Wanjala said on Saturday divers from the Navy in Mombasa County were expected to join the search for the missing officers.

He said security officers involved in the operation had since been deployed to provide security during President William Ruto’s tour of the region.

The three victims were in the company of five other officers when their boat capsized at Muhuru Bay, Migori County during a night patrol on Thursday.

Mr Wanjala said that the area of the lake where the accident occurred is too deep and can only be accessed by trained divers.

“We called and requested for the Kenya Navy divers from Mombasa yesterday but they are yet to arrive, at the moment, the activity remains suspended," he said.

“We are not sure when the divers will arrive since they are yet to communicate when they will arrive. Our officers are currently engaged with the President’s visit,” he said.

The three, namely Sergeant Anderson Wendot, PC Onesmus Githinji and Captain Joseph Jillo were in the company of five other officers from the marine police, Kenya Revenue Authority, and the Kenya Police Service.

Mr Wanjala said that the incident happened barely five minutes after the eight kicked off their operations.

“Five officers were successfully rescued while the three are still missing since the incident occurred,” said Mr Wanjala.

The County Commander said that the matter was reported through a phone call by one of the survivors, Mr Omar Omar at around 12am.

The police boss said that the survivor reported that the eight had set out for operations a few minutes past midnight but the boat capsized after sailing 200 meters from the bay.

“The boat capsized at 0020hrs, those successfully rescued are Sergeant Athman Mohamed, Corporal Erick Ogutu, APC David Omollo, Mr Clifford Owino and Omar Omar,” said Mr Wanjala.

He also said that his officers are also yet to recover three rifles issued to the officers during the patrol.

“Other missing items are three AK47 rifles issued to Sergeant Mohammed, Wendot and APC Omollo each loaded with 30 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition,” he said.

Mr Wanjala said the search will commence as soon as the divers arrive at the scene of the accident.