DR Congo transport minister sacked after numerous boat accidents

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

DR Congo has a high number of fatal boat accidents

Marie-Laure Kawanda, the transport minister for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been sacked by the government after a series of boat accidents in the country. Kawanda was dismissed after a boat sank on Monday while sailing on the Kasai River left around 100 people missing.

A spokesman for the government released a statement saying that Kawanda had failed to "ensure that regulations related to navigation are respected." Information minister Lambert Mende commented on Ms Kawanda's sacking, saying, "She should have introduced rules to prevent boats travelling at night and to stop cargo boats from carrying passengers. We don't have the exact number [of victims] but we think it is probably considerably higher than what has already been reported."

He added that the government will be paying for the funerals of the victims.

Fatal boat accidents are a common occurrence in DR Congo. On the same river where Monday's accident happened, up to 200 people died last year when a boat capsized. According to the Red Cross, 40 people died when an overcrowded boat sank on Lake Kivu last week.