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Catechist Drowns in Lake Bunyonyi

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According to Elly Maate, the Kigezi Region Police Spokesperson, Kizabona was alone in the canoe while crossing the lake from Kayanga Catholic Church to Harutinda shores in Kitumba sub-county. Maate says that on reaching the middle of the Lake, the canoe lost balance and capsized.
Part of Lake Bunyonyi, many people still cross without life jackets (Photo Credit Samuel Amanya)
Nafutali Kizabona, a 35-year-old catechist attached to Kayanga Catholic church in Kabale diocese has drowned on Lake Bunyonyi. Francis Tabu, the Marines Operations Officer on Lake Bunyonyi, says that Kizabona met his death when a canoe he was sailing onboard capsized around 7 am on Monday morning.

According to Elly Maate, the Kigezi Region Police Spokesperson, Kizabona was alone in the canoe while crossing the lake from Kayanga Catholic Church to Harutinda shores in Kitumba sub-county.  Maate says that on reaching the middle of the Lake, the canoe lost balance and capsized.

 

Maate says that preliminary investigations by Marine Police Officers on Lake show that Kizabona was not wearing a lifesaving jacket when crossing the lake. Maate says that efforts are underway to retrieve the deceased’s body. The police marine detach on lake Bunyonyi has opened investigations vide SD 04/19/07/2021.

 

Monsignor Silverio Twinomugisha, the Vicar General of Kabale diocese told our reporter that he was not yet aware of the incident. He promised to issue an official statement after receiving information on the incident. This is the second catechist to drown in Lake Bunyonyi in Kabale in a space of six years. 

In March 2015, Yorokam Byomuhangi, a Catechist at St. Phillips Church of Uganda Parish Bugongi in the Diocese of Kigezi drowned while heading from his home Kitooma in Rubaya sub-county, Kabale district to preside over a Sunday service at his church. In October 2020, Amon Turyatemba, a student from Nyabikoni secondary school drowned in Lake Bunyonyi while on a tour. 

In August 2020, five residents of Karambo village in Muko sub-county in Rubanda district drowned in the same lake. On August 11, 2020, three people including John Bosco Tumuheki, Felix Arineitwe and Fricano Turyahikayo, all residents of Katetenkora village in Nyamiryango Parish, Butanda sub-county in Kabale district drowned when their canoe capsized on the same lake.

In June 2020, two people from Muko sub-county in Rubanda district drowned in the same lake while travelling in a canoe. In most of the cases, the victims were not wearing life jackets. During the 2015 presidential campaigns, President Yoweri Museveni

pledged to provide a ferry to ease transport across the lake, which has become a death trap for the local communities. However, to date, the pledge is still pending.

 

The only intervention has been the establishment of a marine detachment to help in rescuing those who drown and sensitive locals on safety measures. Located in Kabale and Rubanda district, the 900-meter deep lake is the second deepest in Africa and one of the top tourism revenue earners for Uganda.

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