IGANGA – Police in Iganga are investigating a tragic hit and run accident, by the driver of taxi Reg. No UBD 760W, which claimed the lives of 4 Kenyan pilgrims and injured 7 others, who were travelling on foot from Bungoma, Kenya to Namugongo Martyrs shrines, for the annual pilgrimage.
The incident occurred Sunday, May, 26 2019, at around 5:30 am at Bulaga village, along the Iganga –Jinja highway.
Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga says two of the pilgrims who died on the spot have been identified as Obanga Ashiuma Geoffrey, 48 of Naitiri, Bungoma and Roseline Wanjala (51), of Kisoko, Busia.
An additional two victims who succumbed to the injuries at Nakavule Hospital, were identified as Sara Adiambo Ouko of Busia and Madinde Evelyn, also of Busia Kenya.
He said a total of seven other victims, were rushed to hospital out of whom, one Gladys Malinda, is still admitted in critical condition, while four others were transferred to Busia, Kenya by the Catholic community for further treatment.
The remaining two, who had minor injuries that included; Mary Cossillota and Cavan Namwalo, proceeded with their journey to Namugongo.
He said a specialized traffic investigation team that was immediately dispatched to the area, has in its preliminary findings, indicated the cause of the accident as reckless driving due to poor visibility, as it was raining heavily.
The team, he said is meanwhile working to establish the identity of the driver, who escaped from the scene, for arrest and subsequent prosecution.
He went ahead to say that arrangements are in place to support the families of the deceased persons, as well as the injured victims during this trying moment.
According to Police, bodies to the deceased persons were examined and plans to transport them to Kenya in place, in close coordination with the team leader.
He reassured all intending pilgrims that extensive precautions to ensure the security and safety of all pilgrims, including those trekking on foot, had been put in place.
In this very instance, the group of pilgrims had been escorted the previous day, by Bugiri police, and handed over to Iganga Police.
They slept at St Peters Catholic Church and were to resume their journey at 6 am, under police escort, but preferred to leave much earlier they had covered close to 7kms, by the time the tragic incident occurred.
Last week, Inspector General of Police Martins Okoth Ochola ordered all territorial commanders to effectively secure all pilgrims on their way to Namugongo, to avoid a repeat of such tragic occurrence.