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Up to 40 feared dead after motorized wooden boat capsizes in DR Congo

Congolese volunteers carry the body of a child who drowned and died after a passenger boat sank on Lake Kivu, in Mukwija, Kalehe territory, South Kivu Province, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on January 6, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Authorities in eastern Congo fear more than 40 people are dead after a motorized wooden boat capsized on Lake Kivu overnight, officials said Wednesday.

The boat was headed toward the regional capital of Goma when it sank near Kalehe in South Kivu Province. Three bodies have been recovered and more than 40 other people are still missing, according to Delphin Birimbi, head of a civil society group in Kalehe. Authorities also said that 56 people had been rescued.

The owner of a boat which helped in the rescue, Busime Jikanda, said that strong waves and heavy rain caused the tragedy.

Eastern Congo has long been plagued by disastrous boat accidents since vessels are often overloaded with passengers and cargo.

Road networks in the country's far east are poor and often under the control of armed groups so many choose to travel by water despite the risks of drowning.

Birimbi said the vessel that sank should not have had more than 100 people aboard it.

(Source: Reuters)

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