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Boat tragedy Death toll rises from Mingkaman

By SasukTaban/ Agencies

At least six people, three children and three adults are missing after the boat they were travelling on capsized along the River Nile on Monday.

The Deputy Chairperson of the Boat Association in Mingkaman, David Garang on Monday, 24th October, 2017 said 41 passengers were on-board, when the passenger vessel destined for Mingkaman from Bor Town in Jonglei State overturned.

Speaking to Juba Monitor yesterday, the Commissioner of Awerial South County, Kuoi Ayang Kuoi said the number of people missing is six and not four as earlier reported.

He added that the Governor of Jonglei, Col. Philip Aguer issued an order banning people from travelling by boats at night. “The Governor has banned people from travelling by boat at night instead they should travel during the day,” Kuoi said.

It is not clear how the incident occurred, but Mr. Garang said the captain of the boat had been arrested for questioning.

“This incident happened on Monday night at 8:00 o’clock but no details are ready. The boat was coming from Bor to Golyar. It overturned and the captain was arrested,” he said.

Meanwhile, media reports indicate that death toll in the boat accident that occurred at Mingkaman river port on Monday night had risen to over ten people, most of them women and children. Other reports suggested that about thirty bodies of those who perished were discovered.

Those who perished in the river were said to be travelling from Jonglei State to Eastern Lakes to receive food rations at the camps for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Radio Miraya, the United Nations Radio in South Sudan, reported yesterday that the Governor of Jonglei State, Philip Aguer had ordered for the arrest of the members of the Boats’ Union and the members of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) who were present at the river port when the boat was departing late in the evening.

The boat was reported to have capsized when it reached the dock at its destination at Mingkaman in Awerial County. According to Radio Miraya’s reporter in Bor, the journey by boat from Bor to Mingkaman takes four to five hours, and in most cases the boats leave at night.

The local journalist reported that most of these boats are old as some were constructed years back in 2012, adding that boat sailors also overload the boats with passengers and goods, the fact that often leads the boats to submerge.

Radio Miraya also reported that Jonglei State Governor Philip Aguer is planning to visit Mingkaman in few days time to assess the situation there with the hope of ending the resurgence of such a tragedy.

This is the fifth time that boats carrying passengers and goods from Jonglei State capital to Mingkaman have capsized and passengers perished.

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