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Maun police boss roots for Lake Ngami restrictions

PINI BOTHOKO
Crowd at the church witnessing the search
FRANCISTOWN: Maun police have reported that since the beginning of the year, there have been four incidences at Lake Ngami in which seven people have lost their lives.

Last Sunday three men including media personality, Laona Segaetsho are believed to have drowned in the lake. The police have retrieved three bodies from the lake.

Officer Commanding Maun District, Senior Superintendent Chabaesele Kesupetswe has warned the public of the risks on the lake. He wants the lake to be out of bounds to save lives. “At the moment everyone is free to go there, fish freely or swim as they please thus putting their lives in danger,” he said.

“It is hard for us (police) to control people’s movements at the lake. It is an open and large area. If it was possible, it could be fenced and people be restricted from getting in as they please. Deaths of this nature concern us. I intend to meet the District Commissioner (DC) of this area to discuss the way forward to avoid more people drowning here,” said the police chief.

Besides restricting access, Kesupetswe wants regulations set for entering the lake. He said those living near the lake are at high risk because they like fishing using fiberglass canoes, which can easily capsise in stormy and windy conditions.

“I think

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there should be a community trust to regulate and take full responsibility of people’s movements at the lake because at the moment, there is free movement and the police can do nothing. We cannot stop them (people moving). It is not a restricted area,” he said.

Kesupetswe stated that in other countries, places like Lake Ngami have well trained paramedics to assist in case of accidents or emergencies.

“We once had a case in which a local nearly drowned in the lake while fishing using a fibreglass canoe. He knew how to swim and managed to reach a tree, which he climbed. But he spent two days up there until we rescued him. Just imagine what could have happened,” he wondered.

He said in cases of accidents, even though a person may know how to swim, the lake is wide and one can run out of energy while trying to escape danger and possibly drown.

He said that the lake is free of crocodiles and hippopotamus and the only danger is strong waves. Therefore people should assess the situation at the lake before engaging in any adventure.



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