Divers call off search for Lamu politician’s relatives

File photo of rescuers in Lamu after a drowning incident./ FILE

Lamu,KENYA:The search for the remaining bodies of a Lamu politicians kin that died at sea after their boat capsized at sea last Sunday has been officially called off.

Three more bodies are yet to be recovered.

The accident happened at Manda Bruno area after a speed boat that was carrying ODM’s Shekue Kahale,his wife,four children and six other relatives capsized and sank at around 10.30am.

They had been reported missing at sea by relatives after they failed to arrive at the Manda airport where they were to board a flight to Mombasa.

Shekue had just  contested and lost the Lamu East MP’s  seat to Jubilee’s Athman Shariff when he met the tragic incident.

He survived the  accident that saw all his children aged between 1 and 12 years and his wife perish alongside his aunt, sister and her three children on the fateful day.

Shekue was found on Majunguni,an uninhabited island close to Shanga island in Lamu East having swam the whole night for over eight hours by the search team that was mounted a day after the accident.

The search operation had been organized by the county administration and was being carried out by maritime police,immigration police,the navy and a team of local divers.

The search which has been on for over one week has on many occasions been hindered by the heavy currents normally experienced at  Manda Bruno hence slowing down the exercise.

So far all the nine bodies that were recovered have already been buried at cemeteries in Kizingitini and Lamu town as per the Muslim religion.

The search was called off on Sunday after efforts to retrieve the remaining three bodied proved futile.

The bodies are those of two of Kahale’s children aged two and twelve and that of his nephew aged twelve too.

Speaking in Lamu on Tuesday,head of the search team Awadh Ali said they had been forced to call off the search after failing to locate the three remaining bodies.

“We have literally been camping at sea since the accident happened.We recovered nine bodies which have been buried already.Unfortunately,we haven’t located three bodies and as it is there is nothing we can do but to call off the search,”said Awadh.

Though unfortunate,the situation will mean no closure for the family who have to live with the pain of never knowing where the bodies of their loved ones are and not being able to give them a befitting burial.

Kahale is currently in Mombasa where he was taken to undergo treatment following the traumatic experience.

However family members who spoke expressed agony over the yet to be found bodies saying the situation would haunt them.

Numeir Ali who is Kahale’s cousin said it would have been better for the search to carry on till all the bodies were recovered and buried by the family.

He said the missing bodies had affected many psychologically especially Kahale himself.

“For someone to lose their loved one in such a manner is so sad.As a family our grief is immeasurable.But its even worse when we are told three of our loved ones haven’t been found and the search called off.How do we move on from here,at least if we buried them it would be easier.This means we will never have full closure of the situation,”said Ali.