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Authorities fear 40 dead in east Congo after boat capsizes

By AP | Jan 7, 2021

Children gather around a wooden boat conveying two bodies, in Mukwija in Eastern Congo, Wednesday Jan. 6, 2021. Authorities in eastern Congo fear more than 40 people are dead after a motorized wooden boat capsized on Lake Kivu overnight, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Justin Kabumba)

BENI, Congo (AP) — 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.

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.

“The pirogue was intended to transport freight and not people,” he said.

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