Government Spokesperson, Cyrus Oguna, has taken a dig at Swedish diver, Volker Bassen, for failing to retrieve the bodies of Mariam Kighenda and her daughter, Amanda Mutheu, despite claiming he could do so in two hours’ time.
Last Friday, after a promising interview on KTN News, the Government allowed him to join the search mission amid pressure by social media users who were criticising State agencies, including the Kenya Navy, for perceived incompetence.
Even though Oguna did not mention Bassen by name, his remarks left no iota of doubt to whom he was referring to.
“There are some people who claimed they could retrieve the bodies from the sea in two hours’ time, but they failed spectacularly, and took off. You know them,” Oguna said while addressing journalists at the Likoni Ferry channel on Wednesday afternoon.
Bassen, accompanied by three members of his team, mapped the briny water body a better part of Friday morning.
The four-man group scanned several blocks within the waters of the Likoni channel in a bid to locate Kighenda’s Toyota Isis.
The team used a four-seater motorboat fitted with screens to monitor echo signals. At around 1pm, Bassen took a lunch break, and resumed the search operation at 3pm.
A few minutes past 5pm, he wore his underwater gear, and dived into the ocean alongside a support diver.
After 45 minutes, he emerged out of the water.
Volker Bassen said they identified one spot within the sea that they suspected Kighenda’s vehicle could have been deposited.
The spot, he stated, was 60 meters deep.
The diver said he wished the State could suspend ferry operations for an hour Friday night so that they could dive and get to the “exact spot”.
2-hr promise, failed mission and out of Africa
“Tomorrow [Saturday, October 5], I will be travelling out of Kenya hence I won’t be able to take part in the subsequent search operation,” he told K24 Digital.
His request to have ferry services temporarily suspended Friday night was not granted.
Bassen said the Kenya Navy officers also helped him in identifying the spot, though the ocean currents were “too strong at the time”.
The Swede had, in an interview with KTN News on Thursday, October 3, said if given the chance, he could remove Mariam’s vehicle from the sea in two hours’ time.
On Friday, he told K24 Digital that he had “under-estimated the task that lay ahead”.
Bassen’s exit did not dent Kenya’s resolve to continue the difficult task.
Oguna, who was present during the Friday exercise asked Kenyans to be patient, saying “no human has the ability to spot the vehicle, but only Science could help in that exercise”.
“We will come back tomorrow [Saturday, October 5], let us be hopeful that tomorrow will be better than today. We can, however, not say with certainty that we will be able to get Mariam’s vehicle out [of the sea],” Oguna told K24 Digital.
Kenya Navy Commander, Levy Mghalu, was among hundreds of people who witnessed the October 4 operation alongside other government officials.