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32 missing after boat sinks in DR Congo

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Thirty-two people are missing, feared dead, after a boat carrying more than 70 passengers capsized on Lake Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said Friday.

Initial reports after the motorised piroque a large canoe sank Thursday evening “indicate that 46 people were rescued and 32 are missing,” local authorities in the province of South Kivu said in a statement.

It did not give a death toll but said each affected family had been given money to organise “funeral arrangements worthy of our drowned countrymen.”

“Overloading was the main cause of the capsize,” local head Christian Chiringwi in Luhihi told AFP.

In the neighboring province of Tanganyika meanwhile a similar accident late Thursday left two people dead, local officials said.

Such incidents occur regularly in DR Congo, with poorly built and maintained boats often overloaded with people and cargo while safety equipment is minimal.

In the worst recent accident, 142 people drowned when their boat sank on Lake Kivu in April.

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