At least 30 travelers have perished after their overcrowded boat hit a rock and upended on the Congo river. The incident have set off riots in which angry youths set fire to public buildings on Christmas day (Thursday). The rioters, many of who have relatives among the dead, were bitter over what they saw as government’s levity in enforcing safety rules. Some of the places the mob torched were the offices of the river police and the naval force.
Provincial government spokesman, Monulphe Bosso told AFP, that, “There are 105 survivors and we have pulled up 30 bodies. The search is continuing.”
Bosso speaks further on the incident: “At its departure, in Kisangani, the boat embarked 39 people according to the register handed over to the authorities. Perhaps they were trying to cheat river surveillance services… as they took more passengers on board along the way.
“They embarked many more people… the boat was carrying a lot of goods and was also crowded with people. They hit a rock” and it sank.
Bosso said a government delegation was heading for the town of Isangi, the boat’s scheduled destination, on Friday.
The boat mishap was said to have happened on Monday near the village of Yakusu II, north of the eastern provincial capital of Kisangani.
Deaths of sea travelers in DR Congo have become frequent occurrences.