Fear has gripped a village in Lamu County after a boat ferrying 11 family members and the captain disappeared in the Indian Ocean moments after leaving Kizingitini Village on Sunday.
An Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) candidate for Lamu East Constituency seat in the just-concluded general election Shekue Kahale is said to be one of the people boarding the vessel. Shekue came in second in the elections.
Lamu police boss said that a team of marine patrol boats were immediately dispatched to search for the missing vessel, with tens of local divers also joining the night search mission for the youthful politician and his family members.
Lamu’s Operation Linda Boni Director Joseph Kanyiri said that the 40HP Yamaha Enduro-powered boat is feared to have capsized at around 10am and 12pm Sunday at Manda Bruno area.
Two fishermen, two jerry canes, a fuel tank and a fuel pump found at the seashores are suspected to be those of the ill-fated boat.
“It is true. There is a boat that went missing since Sunday morning. It was carrying one of the Lamu politicians and family members and the coxswain,".
“It was moving from Kizingitini headed to Lamu. We suspect the boat capsized at Manda Bruno between 10am to 12pm.
“We sent out a search and rescue team yesterday but couldn’t find anything. They will be out again this morning on same mission. We need to be patient as the search and rescue team does its work. I think it’s too early to comment on whereabouts of the occupants of the ill-fated boat though it’s highly suspected [it] may have capsized due to turbulent sea,” said Kanyiri.
Lamu County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo urged for calm as police heighten the search.
“Yes. There is that report of a boat missing with all its occupants. Up to now the vessel’s whereabouts and [fate] of passengers is not known. All the occupants’ phones are off since the time the boat was reported missing.
“Search is already ongoing by several agencies including our police boat, immigration, the Kenya Maritime Authority and the county rescue team. The boat didn’t arrive in Lamu as expected,” said Mr Kitiyo.