A fisherman who allegedly lured a group of children to the Thamalakane River to drive fish into his net is still at large after a 12-year-old girl drowned in the river.
The incident occurred on Saturday, and the fisherman has yet to be located by the police.
Maun Police Station Commander, Dennis Zilawe, confirmed that the police were directed to what was supposed to be the fisherman’s home, only to find out that he did not live there. “We have to find him to get his side of the story,” Zilawe said.
On that fateful afternoon, the children, including the now-deceased Lone William, walked almost 9 kilometers from Kubung new residential area in Matshwane/Boseja area to try and beat the Maun heat by playing in Thamalakane River.
Among the children was Lone’s elder sister, who alleged that at the river, they found a fisherman who instructed them to get into the water and drive fish into his net.
The children told their parents that they drove the fish into the net and managed to get out.
However, when Lone tried to get back into the water for the second time, she slipped and went under.
The fisherman then fled, and the children ran for help to the nearest place where they could find people, which was Maun Lodge.
“It was a shock to us because they had never been to the river before, but it appears the neighbours’ children had visited the river before. We are not blaming them; they were all just innocent children who went out to play,” said the deceased child’s aunt, Thembi William.
Thembi also spoke of how it took about two hours for the rescue team made up of scuba divers from Botswana Police Services and Botswana Defence Force to arrive at the scene.
“We received the report around 5pm and we immediately assembled a team of Police officers, soldiers and disaster management to try and search for the child but unfortunately by sunset we had not found the child,” Zilawe explained.
The search continued on Sunday morning around 7:00 am but was delayed by a crocodile which was spotted lurking under water.
The crocodile was shot and the girl’s body was retrieved soon after that. A post-mortem has not yet been conducted and funeral arrangement are yet to be announced.
A memorial service in honour of the deceased will be held at Kubung Primary School tomorrow (Thursday).