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Over 50 people drown after boat capsizes on river in northwest Congo

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At least 50 people drowned after a boat capsized in the Congo River in Equateur province, local authorities said Sunday.

The boat was traveling from Ngondo, an area approximately 74 miles (120 kilometers) from the province’s capital, Mbandaka. and crashed Saturday night in Bolomba village, Didon Ifete, the administrator for the territory, said on state radio.

Some 200 passengers were rescued and an unknown number of others were missing, he said.

This is the second boat wreck on the Congo River in Equateur province within a week. On October 14, another boat capsized, killing at least 47 people and leaving more than 70 missing.

In January, at least 145 passengers went missing after a motorized boat overloaded with goods and animals sank on the river in northwestern Congo.

Boating mishaps are common on the Congo River and on the nation’s lakes because of the prevalent use of makeshift boats that are often overloaded. The majority of the population in the country’s northwest use the rivers to travel because of a lack of sound roads and because it is a less expensive.

The Congolese government banned nighttime river travel throughout the country to prevent accidents, although many defy the directive.

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