At least 28 killed and 261 missing in DRC shipwreck

At least 28 people were killed and 261 others were missing after a boat sank on the Congo River late Friday in the province of Equateur, northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the provincial government said on Sunday.

In a video statement, Deputy Provincial Governor Taylor Nganzi, who inspected the scene of the accident, spoke of a “serious situation, and that responsibilities will be strictly established without any complacency toward the culprits.”

According to the provincial authorities, the boat left the port of Mbandaka, the province’s port city on the Congo River, late Friday for Bolomba, a territory located more than 300 km from Mbandaka.

The boat capsized due to overloading, witnesses told reporters. The number of passengers on board remains unknown.

“Our teams counted up to 49 bodies yesterday, and this morning, another was recovered from the water, bringing the toll to 50 dead,” Joseph Boyoko Lokondo, a leader of the organisation “Generation Consiente (“Conscious Generation”), told reporters.

“Up to now, around 100 people are reported missing,” he said, adding that “between 20 to 30 survivors (were) still at the port, they have lost everything”.

Shipwrecks are frequent across the DRC, especially on the Congo River, where overloading and poor condition of boats are the causes of most accidents.

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