, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 6 – Several people were injured Friday following a stampede at the Likoni channel in Mombasa owing to few ferries in operation.
The stampede occurred after two ferries were withdrawn for maintenance by the Kenya Ferry Services, leaving only two in operation.
“We are really suffering… it is even worse for children going to school because they are already late. They need more ferries and this place needs to be mordenised, I am already late for work, and my boss does not really care,” a passenger complained.
Some passengers urged the KFS to intervene while laying claim of alleged bribing of police officers by other passengers to enable them jump the queue.
“Some of the men are bribing the police to be allowed to get in, they are even using the queue used by women; why are the police allowing this to happen,” complained a group of women.
Mombasa Police boss Geofrey Mayek says more police officers have been deployed to assist in restoring order at the crossing to avert a crisis.
In a statement the Kenya Ferry Services urged motorists and passengers to be patient after the inconveniences caused by the ferry breakdown saying the matter was being resolved.
Bofu Ward representative Suleiman Omar Boma urged the KFS to urgently address the situation blaming the delay in repairing of the ferries to a shortage in mechanics.
“This is an emergency situation and other means have to be derived. Kenya Ferry Services should seek the assistance of KPA to tow the ferries until the engineers supposed to repair them are available,” said Omar.
An announcer on the port was even heard calming down the passengers as they tried to get into a ferry that had docked.
“We will try to deal with this congestion as fast as possible, we are requesting you to work with us, be patient. For those with vehicles, we apologise for the delay, it is due to unavoidable circumstances, we want to clear the pedestrians first then we can also serve you.” Said the announcer,” said the announcer.
KFS Managing Director Musa Hassan Musa says the daily ferry passenger number is likely to reach 500,000 in the next three years if the current trend continues adding that they are in the process of procuring two more ferries to deal with the surge in passenger numbers.