Why Likoni Channel has been declared a military zone, and what this means for civilians

By Reuben Mwambingu On Mon, 7 Oct, 2019 16:54 | 2 mins read
Mariam Kighenda, 35, and her daughter. The two were in the car that slid off MV Harambee on Sunday, September 29, 2019, and plunged into the Indian Ocean. PHOTO | COURTESY
Editor's Review
    • Mariam Kighenda and her daughter Amanda Mutheu lost their lives after their car plunged into the Indian Ocean over a week ago.
    • Multiple government and private efforts to recover the remains of the mother and Child have failed, thus far.
    • South African experts and Indian Navy officers joined the recovery efforts Monday.

Likoni Channel has been declared a military zone, Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) Chairman Dan Mwazo announced Monday.

Speaking close to the spot where Mariam Kighenda and her daughter Amanda Mutheu lost their lives after their car plunged into the Indian Ocean, Mawazo said that the move was made to facilitate intensified efforts to recover the two bodies.

Kighenda and her four-year-old child died over a week ago, with multiple operation failing to recover their bodies from the ocean.

Hopes of retrieving the remains of the two victims this week are high, following the inclusion of Indian and South African experts to rescue operation.

“I am happy to announce that we have received all the reinforcement that we needed. We have received additional equipment and additional divers so we expect the operation to be much smooth,” Mawazo said, addressing members of the press.

The Indians, who arrived at the Mombasa port aboard two naval vessels Sunday on a counter piracy mission, are reported to have agreed to help Kenya Navy in the mission on volunteer basis.

Mawazo stated that, in addition to the experts, the Government is expected to receive more equipment from South Africa to help the Likoni Ferry recovery mission.

The Likoni Channel area has since been cordoned off, and members of the public are banned from accessing the area as the multi-agency team searches for the bodies.

“The Indian navy has also promised to join the mission on condition that this whole area will be under military. This is why we have been asked to leave and give them room… to carry out the operation,” Mawazo said in a media briefing.

Yesterday, the Mbaraki Wharf, the Bamburi Cement’s terminal which has been the command center was cleared as it was declared an operation area under Kenya Navy.

Mwazo also told the media that a South African Company-Sub Sea, which was hired by the bereaved family through Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, had also deployed five experts and search equipment.

There was, howeve,r confusion after the family through their spokesman Luka Mbati, said they had been left in the dark regarding arrival of the said South African firm.

“I cannot comment anything to that effect because we have not been provided with any documentation at least to prove that they have arrived. We have been left in the dark,” said Mbati.

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