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DRC Boat Crash Kills Eight

FILE: Boats sail on lake Kivu next to the city of Goma. Taken Nov.17, 2016.

Eight people were killed after a ferry and a motorized canoe collided on Lake Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), local officials said Tuesday.

The canoe was leaving for Idjwi, an island in the middle of the large volcanic lake, when it collided with the Emmanuel 3, a ferry that shuttles between Bukavu and Goma, the capital of the neighboring North Kivu province.

Four men and four women aboard the canoe died in the accident, which occurred on Saturday in the port of Bukavu, the transport minister of South Kivu province, Mathieu Alimasi Malumni, told AFP.

Alimasi said the bodies were recovered on Tuesday.

He said the canoe was overloaded and the passengers had not been wearing life jackets.

In many parts of the DRC, people travel on waterways due to a lack of passable roads, and accidents, typically caused by overlading, poorly maintained vessels and lax safety standards, are common.

In one incident in 2019, around a hundred people drowned in South Kivu's Kalehe territory, prompting President Felix Tshisekedi to declare the wearing of life jackets to be mandatory. However, the rule is rarely respected in practice.